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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 1st (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (21-26-7) at Columbus Blue Jackets (27-23-4), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to close a three-game homestand with a second straight win when they host the Florida Panthers in Saturday's battle at Nationwide Arena.

All told, the Blue Jackets has a stout 10-4-0 record in January. However, after winning a club-record eight consecutive games from Jan. 6-23, Columbus was mired in an 0-3-0 slide before snapping the skid Thursday against Washington.

The Blue Jackets began a three-game homestand with Tuesday's 3-2 loss against Ottawa, but Columbus rebounded with a 5-2 triumph in Thursday's meeting with the Capitals. Ryan Johansen had two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves to help Columbus get back to its winning ways.

Johansen's two-goal night pushed his team-leading total this season to 21 tallies in 54 games. The 21-year-old had 14 total goals over 107 career games heading into this season.

"He stepped up. I thought (Johansen) had a big game for us tonight," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards.

Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson and Derek MacKenzie also scored for the Blue Jackets, who are 15-11-2 as the host this season.

Columbus enters Saturday's test with 58 points, leaving it one point out of a playoff spot in the East and one point in back of Carolina for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The top-three teams in each division automatically qualify for the postseason, with the two remaining postseason spots in each conference coming in the form of wild cards.

The Blue Jackets made the only playoff appearance in franchise history in the spring of 2009, when they were promptly swept in the first round by Detroit.

Columbus has won the last five meetings in the series with Florida, but the teams haven't met since the Blue Jackets recorded a 4-1 home win on March 30, 2012. The Panthers have lost three straight in Ohio and haven't won in this series since notching a 5-2 win at Columbus on Nov. 21, 2007.

The Panthers, who are 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East, enter Saturday having lost two straight and three of their last four contests.

Florida held a 2-0 lead in the first period of Thursday's game in Toronto, but the Maple Leafs scored five unanswered goals en route to a 6-3 triumph at Air Canada Centre. Mason Raymond and James van Riemsdyk scored 31 seconds apart in the first minute of the second period to hand Toronto a 3-2 lead and the Leafs never looked back.

Panthers coach Peter Horachek said the two quick goals in the second period put some of his players "back on their heels."

"From that point on I think it was pretty even for the rest of the second period but the two quick goals really put the momentum back on their side," he said.

Nick Bjugstad, Sean Bergenheim and Dmitry Kulikov scored for the Panthers. Scott Clemmensen gave up all six goals on 32 shots.

Tim Thomas expects to get the start in net for Florida tonight after he surrendered six goals on 41 shots in Tuesday's loss against Boston. The former Bruin is 0-1-1 with a 3.33 goals against average in three career games against the Blue Jackets.

Florida is 11-15-3 as the visiting team this season and is wrapping a four- game road trip tonight. The Panthers will host Toronto in their next game on Tuesday.

02/01 11:47:32 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
1st
CAR 0
MIN 1
 
2nd
CHA 25
TOR 24
 
Final
STL 5
HOU 2
 
Final
BOS 3
MIA 5
 
Final
TAM 2
MIN 1
 
Final
PHI 1
NYY 4
 
Final
ATL 8
WAS 9
 
Final
TOR 5
BAL 4
 
Final
NYM 5
DET 4
Final
SDP 5
CWS 0
 
Final
CHC 2
CIN 5
 
Final
CLE 9
KAN 11
 
Final
MIL 1
LOS 10
 
Final
TEX 3
SFG 12
 
Final
LOS 7
SEA 4
 
Final
ANA 3
COL 0
 
Final
ARI 2
OAK 7
 
2nd
NYY 0
PIT 0
 
1st
IND 21
CHI 18
 
1st
WAS 38
MIA 15
 
1st
ORL 27
SAC 23
 
2nd
CHA 25
TOR 24
 
1st
PHI 18
UTA 19
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
BOS
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DET
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAL
8:00pm Tonight
BRK
PHO
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
DEN
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
DAL
Final
MVSU 75
ARKPB 94
 
Final
CSOU 60
LONG 68
 
Final
WICHS 56
SILL 45
Final
RAD 66
WINT 67
 
Final
ILLST 71
EVAN 67
2nd
HIGH 52
GWEBB 57
 
2nd
UNCG 51
SAMF 48
 
2nd
ELON 53
TOWS 48
 
1st
KSU 27
AKR 21
 
1st
BUF 12
BGU 15
 
1st
DART 14
BRO 28
 
1st
WMICH 20
CMICH 14
 
1st
PENN 16
CLMB 5
 
1st
PRIN 24
CORN 19
 
1st
OU 24
ILLCH 11
 
1st
OHIO 30
UMO 12
 
1st
BST 13
NILL 6
 
1st
EMICH 15
TOL 22
 
1st
NIOWA 18
BRAD 8
 
1st
MURST 2
MORE 3
 
8:00pm Tonight
CCAR
UNCA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HARV
YALE
 
8:30pm Tonight
DREX
COC
8:30pm Tonight
CITA
FUR
9:00pm Tonight
USF
PAC
9:00pm Tonight
BAY
TTU
9:30pm Tonight
EKENT
BEL
9:30pm Tonight
CLST
DET
9:35pm Tonight
INDST
LOYC
11:30pm Tonight
SCU
LMU
1st
NJD 0
CLB 1
 
1st
CAR 0
MIN 1
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
BUF
7:30pm Tonight
DET
CAL
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
EDM
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
PIT