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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 11th (All times Eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (42-31-7) at Tampa Bay Lightning (44-27-9), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Fresh off clinching the second postseason berth in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets will try to improve their playoff position when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

The Blue Jackets entered the league as an expansion club for the 2000-01 season, but didn't make their first postseason appearance until 2009 when they were swept in the first round by Detroit. It took five years to get back to the playoffs, but Columbus made it official with a win Wednesday in Dallas.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots -- including 17 in the third period -- as the Blue Jackets locked up a playoff spot thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Stars in the replay of a suspended game from American Airlines Center.

"It's a huge step for our organization. And to me, it's just a step. But we're ready to take the next one," said Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards, whose club also set a new team record with a 42nd win this season.

The original matchup, begun on March 10, was ended after almost 6 1/2 minutes elapsed in the first period when Stars forward Rich Peverley suffered a cardiac episode on the bench.

Wednesday's game was replayed from the start, but the visitors were allowed to keep their 1-0 lead, thanks to a Nathan Horton goal. Horton, however, didn't play Wednesday due to a lower-body injury and he expects to sit out again tonight.

Once play resumed, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who have won three in a row and can still catch Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Columbus is tied with the Flyers in points at 91, but Philly owns the current tiebreaker thanks to owning one more non-shootout victory. Like Columbus, the Flyers have two games left in the regular season, but Philadelphia is idle on Friday.

The Blue Jackets also are tied with Detroit for the first wild card spot in the East. Detroit is playing Friday against visiting Carolina before capping its regular season Sunday in St. Louis. Columbus cannot catch the Red Wings in non-shootout wins.

Wednesday's game kicked off a three-game road trip that will complete Columbus' regular-season schedule. The club is 20-16-3 as the visiting team and will finish the campaign Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Tampa Bay also has qualified for the playoffs and will play the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round. However, home-ice advantage for that best-of- seven series is still up in the air, but the Lightning control their own destiny in the race for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Montreal lost in regulation to the visiting New York Islanders on Thursday and is only one point ahead of the Lightning for second place with one game left on its schedule. If Tampa can win its final two games of the regular season it will open the first-round series versus the Habs on home ice.

Columbus is 2-0 against the Lightning this season after entering 2013-14 on a three-game slide in this series. However, Tampa is 6-1-0 in the seven all-time meetings in Central Florida.

04/11 10:44:27 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
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
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0