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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
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
2nd
MIA 52
BOS 42
 
Half
BRK 53
DET 51
 
2nd
SAC 50
LAL 51
 
Half
ORL 42
PHI 37
 
2nd
WAS 49
PHO 50
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
 
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Half
UGA 41
SHU 22
 
1st
ALA 21
APP 24
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
1st
WASU 0
SJST 2
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
2nd
DET 0
COL 0
 
2nd
EDM 3
DAL 2
 
1st
BOS 0
BUF 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
4th
STL 20
NYG 37
 
4th
OAK 19
BUF 17
 
4th
DAL 42
IND 7
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA