Game number 41 for the Columbus Blue Jackets comes on the road against the Florida Panthers.
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost their first game in 2019 but are still 7-3-1 in their last eleven games. Not bad at all!
The only problem is that the teams around the Jackets in the standings, the Islanders, Penguins, and Capitals, are all playing better and have actually made up ground on the Jackets. That dumbfounding fact has to be dragging down the locker room but there is no time for self pity.
The Jackets turn around after last night’s 4-2 loss in Carolina to take on the plucky Florida Panthers in Sunrise. Before the game I sat down with the fantastic Danny Janicas of TheRatTrick.com. Danny and his team does a great job covering one of the most intriguing teams in the NHL that deserves more attention so I hope you follow him on twitter and read all of his great work.
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Lansing Murphy (LM): Nine Points out with two games in hand. Will the Florida Panthers make a second half run at a playoff spot?
Danny Janicas (DJ): Knowing the Cats, they will probably make another run and miss out by a few points. At this stage, I’m not particularly confident in the team and am already starting to turn my attention towards the Draft.
LM: What did you think about the two recent trades the Panthers made?
DJ: The previous two trades we made were fine. With Michael Hutchinson, we weren’t likely going to re-sign him at the end of the year, so getting a fifth-round pick in exchange for his services was a nice little return.
With Alexander Petrovic, his days were simply numbered, and it was only a matter of time before he was shipped out. Getting a defenseman, Chris Wideman, on an expiring deal was great, considering we could simply walk away from him in the summer. The icing on the cake for me was receiving a third-round pick, which is way too much for Petrovic in my honest opinion. Simply put, Dale Tallon fleeced Peter Chiarelli – which isn’t really hard to do.
LM: How did Aleksander Barkov not make the All-Star Team?
DJ: If I’m being honest, I’m not exactly sure. But if I’m being even more honest, him sitting out on this one wouldn’t be a bad idea. Barkov logs heavy minutes nightly and is often gassed from his coach using and counting on him so much. Barkov could use the break to simply catch his breath, something he doesn’t get to do during a game.
While Barkov should be in the ASG without any question, him potentially sitting out on this one wouldn’t be a bad idea with the reason I stated above. And, there’s still a slim chance he goes, after the NHL released the ‘Last Men’ in every division, where a player (who should’ve made it) on every team in the league that didn’t make it, still has the opportunity of being selected to take part in the ASG.
LM: How does tonight’s game play out?
DJ: I think the Panthers will play better in comparison to their previous game against the Sabres, but with all honesty, I still see them losing by a couple of goals. The constant defensive breakdowns will likely take place, and I just don’t see them matching up well against the Blue Jackets. Don’t be surprised if the Jackets even win rather convincingly.
Thanks again to Danny for taking the time to talk to us. The puck drops in Florida at 7pm.