Florida Panthers @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Saturday, February 1st, 2014 – 7:00PM
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Get your finger off that panic button! The Columbus Blue Jackets eased some of our fears Thursday night with a big 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Nationwide Arena. Columbus was firing on all cylinders and despite giving up another shorthanded goal, they managed to kill off seven Washington power plays.
After an eight game winning streak, a three game losing streak had some Blue Jackets fans wondering if this would be a case of “same old Jackets”. However, with the win, Columbus secured a 10-4 record for the month of January, and still remain in the playoff picture.
Tonight, the Florida Panthers make their first visit to Nationwide Arena for their first of three match ups with the Columbus Blue Jackets this year. Florida currently sits at seventh in the Atlantic Division, ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres. However, they have managed to play the role of the spoiler several times throughout the 2013-14 season; this includes a 5-4 win last Sunday over the Detroit Red Wings and a 5-1 win over the Penguins back on January 20th.
The Blue Jackets needs to continue the offensive attack we saw against the Washington Capitals. They also need to avoid playing down to their opposition. While the Panthers may appear to be an easy opponent, the Penguins and Red Wings will tell you a different story. Let’s also not forget that it was the last place Buffalo Sabres that ended the big winning streak for the Jackets.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets FF% (5v5 Close game situation) hit a new peak against the Capitals: 59.3%. The previous high was 58% against the Coyotes back on January 2nd. See the trend in this chart courtesy of Extra Skater.com:
- The Jackets are now up to a pace of 2.87 goals per game. That ties them with the San Jose Sharks for 7th overall. Meanwhile the Panthers are averaging 2.32 GPG, the 4th fewest in the NHL. [ NHL.com ]
- Florida’s 76.9 PK% is the second worst in the league, ahead of only the New York Islanders. The Jackets are in the middle of the pack (17th) with a 80.7 PK% [ NHL.com ]
- Stay tuned to the Union and Blue, as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets twitter for the latest news from the CBJ morning skate. There aren’t too many lineup changes expected.
- Jared Boll took part in his first skate since his surgery yesterday. He isn’t nearing a return by any means, but it is a move in a positive direction.
The Union and Blue Song For The Game:
Against Me! – “Sink, Florida, Florida Sink”
(Content Warning: Two F-Bombs in this one)
Been saving this one for when the Florida Panthers come into town! One of my favorite Against Me! songs.