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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 1st (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (22-30-7) at Columbus Blue Jackets (29-25-5), 2 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-hopeful Columbus Blue Jackets will try to halt a three-game slide when they host the Florida Panthers in Saturday's matinee clash at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets, who enter Saturday five points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, have made the postseason just once in their history. That was back in 2009 when Columbus was promptly swept out of the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings.

Columbus did not get its postseason push off to a good start in its first game following the Olympics, as the Blue Jackets were dealt a 5-2 setback Thursday night in New Jersey. The win allowed the Devils to tie the Jackets and Ottawa in the conference standings.

New Jersey scored three times in the opening nine minutes of the game to grab a commanding 3-0 lead over Columbus. Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 34 shots in the setback.

Artem Anisimov notched a goal and an assist in the setback, while Marian Gaborik, who hadn't played since Dec. 21 due to a broken collarbone, also lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets.

"You have no choice but to have a short-term memory about it," Columbus head coach Todd Richards said of the loss. "Whether it was a good game or a bad game, you have to learn from it and move on. You don't want to dwell on things too much, whether good or bad."

Columbus, which had lost two straight heading into the NHL's Olympic break, has lost six of its last nine games following a club-record eight-game winning streak from Jan. 6-23.

The Panthers also lost for the third straight time in their first game following the league's hiatus for the Winter Games. Florida was handed a 5-4 regulation setback by visiting Washington on Thursday, as the Capitals dealt the Panthers their sixth loss in seven games.

Alex Ovechkin's goal with 4:17 remaining snapped a tie game and lifted the Caps to victory in South Florida. The Panthers trailed 4-2 after 40 minutes before tying the contest on a pair of quick goals from Drew Shore and Brad Boyes near the midway point of the third period. However, Ovechkin's 41st goal of the season proved to be the difference.

"You fight back and you fight back and you get it tied up and then you give them the winner," Florida head coach Peter Horachek said. "It's frustrating.

Boyes registered two goals in the loss and former Washington forward Tomas Fleischmann also scored. Tim Thomas finished with 27 saves.

The regulation setback did not help aid the Panthers already slim postseason chances. Florida is currently sitting in 15th place out of 16 teams in the East and is 17 points removed from a playoff spot.

Saturday's test marks the first stop on a three-game road trip for the Panthers, who are only 11-17-3 as the visiting team this season. Florida enters today's tilt on a four-game road losing streak and the club hasn't won away from home since beating Detroit on Jan. 26.

The Panthers haven't fared well in this series either, losing six straight, seven of eight and eight of the past 10 meetings with the Blue Jackets. Columbus has claimed four in a row and five of the past six encounters at Nationwide Arena.

03/01 10:26:10 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
3rd
ECU 42
UNC 27
 
1st
TOWSN 7
NCCU 0
 
1st
NCSU 7
PRES 0
 
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
8th
OAK 0
PHI 2
 
7th
NYY 2
TOR 5
 
8th
COL 5
ARI 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
BOS
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
CWS
7:10pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
NYM
7:10pm Tonight
HOU
SEA
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
7:15pm Tonight
STL
CIN
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
TEX
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
 
4th
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
 
4th
KU 10
CMICH 10
 
3rd
ALA 28
UF 21
 
Half
FIU 3
LOU 28
 
3rd
ECU 42
UNC 27
 
4th
NAVY 17
RUTG 31
 
4th
SMU 6
TEXAM 51
 
3:30pm Today
MICH 10
UTAH 26
4th
BYU 27
UVA 19
 
4th
WYO 17
FATL 16
 
3rd
MIZZ 17
IND 17
 
3rd
PSU 47
UMASS 0
 
4th
MINN 17
SJST 7
 
4:00pm Today
ILL 6
TXST 14
1st
WASH 0
GASTATE 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
SMISS
APPST
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BST
7:00pm Tonight
OHIO
IDAHO
7:00pm Tonight
CIN
UMO
7:00pm Tonight
MEM
MTST
7:00pm Tonight
LSU
MSST
7:00pm Tonight
ARK
NILL
7:00pm Tonight
ARKST
UTST
7:30pm Tonight
SALABAMA
GASO
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
OKLA
7:30pm Tonight
VANDY
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
FSU
CLEM
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
MIAMI
8:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
UNLV
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
BSU
LALAF
10:30pm Tonight
WASU
OREG
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
SDST
1st
TOWSN 7
NCCU 0
 
1st
NCSU 7
PRES 0