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GameDay Caterwaul: Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets

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Cats look to mine two more points from the rust belt

Florida Panthers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Panthers (16-5-4 36P) at Blue Jackets (10-12-5 25P)

  • WHEN: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
  • ON THE TUBE: FOX Sports Florida, Fox Sports Ohio
  • ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM (D/B), 640 WMEN (PB), 1370 WAXE (TC), Thunder 100.3 (Keys)
  • SOCIALS: #FlaPanthers, #CBJ, #FLAvsCBJ, @LitterBoxCats, LBC FaceBook
  • ENEMY INTEL: The Cannon
  • FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 4 of 8 (2-0-1)
  • LAST MEETING: FLA 4, @CBJ 2 - (Recap) - 3/9/2021
  • NEXT MEETING: April 3, 2021
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Bobrovsky (9-2-2 .905/ 2.94 0SO) vs Merzlikins (3-3-1 .917 / 2.81 1SO)
  • PLAYER STATS: Florida / Columbus

Scouting Report

The Florida Panthers will be play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night in the second game of a back to back. On Tuesday the Panthers took the two points in a 4-2 win to extend their road record to 9-2-1 and take a lead in the season long series to 2-1. The Panthers have won three of their last four games as they now sit two points out of first in the Central Division. The recent surge in their play is due to Sergei Bobrovsky’s play between the pipes as he is 4-0-1 in his last five starts with a .927 save percentage over that span including 38 saves on Tuesday against these Blue Jackets. The Panthers have balanced out their top two lines which has given them some options for match ups depending on who they are playing. Carter Verhaeghe has moved up to the top line with Aleksander Barkov and now has two goals in his last four games.

The Blue Jackets are in a free fall losing two in a row and seven of their last nine as John Tortorella is hanging on to his job by a thread. They have the seventh highest goals against average in the league at 3.22 and are near the bottom in penalty killing at 72.7%. Both of these stats show the players are starting to tune out the coach including Max Domi who was minus two on Tuesday and is now an amazing minus 15 on the season and is clearly in Tortorella’s dog house. Newly acquired Patrik Laine had another six shots on Bobrovsky but couldn’t score and has now gone seven games without a point. Florida can see how vulnerable the Blue Jackets are and will pounce on them early.

Full preview at Pickswise

Thursday in the Central (Standings/Panthers Playoff Chances):

  • NASHVILLE (11-14-1 32P) at CAROLINA (18-6-1 37P) 7 p.m.
  • TAMPA BAY (18-4-2 38P) at DETROIT (7-16-4 18P) 7:30 p.m.
  • CHICAGO (13-9-5 31P) at DALLAS (8-8-5 21P) 8:30 p.m.

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