The Columbus Blue Jackets have a tall task ahead of them as the Florida Panthers, the league-leaders in scoring, travel north to Ohio Monday night.
Columbus is looking to defeat Florida to extend their winning streak to three games, a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since the beginning of November. The Panthers are riding a three game win streak, and is looking to continue the positive momentum as we head for the All-Star Break.
After a 6-3 Columbus victory over Montreal last night, and a stellar performance by goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, the CBJ are looking for a better outcome than the last time the two faced off – a gruesome 9-2 victory by Florida.
It’s highly likely that former Blue Jackets net minder Sergei Bobrovsky will start between the crease tonight for the Panthers, and the Russian native isn’t as well-loved in the state’s capitol as he used to be.
The Florida Panthers are keeping the same lines and lineup from their last game – a 5-4 overtime win against San Jose. Their top two players in the past few games, Mason Marchment and Jonathan Huberdeau, have combined for fourteen points and six goals in their last five games.
Meanwhile, Columbus has seen improved performance by Patrik Laine, who scored two goals last night against Montreal, and has five points in his last five games. After playing last night in Montreal, Columbus did not hold a morning skate to prepare for the 7 PM puck drop.
With Korpisalo playing last night in Montreal, Elvis Merzlikins will most likely start in net for Columbus. Starting tonight against Florida will be the first game for the net minder since giving up six goals to the Calgary Flames on January 26.
Tonight’s game is the last for Columbus before the All-Star Break.