The Florida Panthers landed in Columbus a few hours after losing to the Flames in a shootout. By the time they got there, the Blue Jackets were getting throttled at home by the Red Wings.
Florida could be getting a salty opponent tonight.
Columbus was coming off a four-game point streak and despite injuries to its top two players in Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski, it looked like perhaps things were trending up for the CBJ.
Then came a 6-1 loss to the up-and-coming Red Wings on Saturday night with Sergei Bobrovsky and the Panthers arriving in town.
Bobrovsky has won seven straight starts against his former team and is 8-1-1 against them since leaving for the beach in 2019.
The good thing for the Jackets is that with this being Michigan week, no one is paying all that much attention.
“They did exactly what they wanted to do in this building tonight,” new Columbus defenseman Erik Gudbranson said per the Dispatch.
“We fed into that. We turned over a lot of pucks tonight. That just kills your momentum. To do that consistently for two periods, it’s going to be really hard to win a hockey game that way.”
Bobrovsky is looking for a bounce back following a rough start Thursday in which Dallas took advantage of a porous defensive effort and put up four goals in the first period.
Prior to that game, Bobrovsky was terrific in beating the Capitals 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Bobrovsky will also be going against Daniil Tarasov — the 23-year-old goalie who hails from Bobrovsky’s hometown of Novokuznetsk, Russia.
Tarasov, like many kids growing up in southwest Siberia, saw all the success Bobrovsky had in the NHL and strived to be like him.
A third-round pick of the Jackets in 2017, Tarasov (1-3-0) is getting his fifth start of the season and first against Bobrovsky.
— Florida coach Paul Maurice has seen his tinkering with the top three lines find some success and he said Saturday night that they may just end up being interchangeable with some exceptions as to keeping certain players together.
The Panthers may have hit on something with Eetu Luostarinen playing on the right side of Matthew Tkachuk (who goes against former Calgary teammates Johnny Gaudreau and Gudbranson tonight) while keeping Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart together.
When asked what has been the difference in Reinhart finding his scoring touch after going his first 12 games without a goal, Maurice did not skip a beat.
”Lundell. There’s something between the two of them the way they play off the puck,’’ Maurice said. “That translates to the 5-on-4 game if you’re feeling good at 5-on-5 and then your hands warm up and you relax a little on the power play; for the highly-skilled players, they need to play mentally free when the puck is on your stick. There can’t be any other thoughts just instinct. He has gotten to that point now.”
Colin White also seems to be enjoying his time up top with Sasha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, scoring his fourth goal of the season.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
- When: Sunday, 6 p.m.
- Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-260); Puck line (-1.5, -105); Over/Under 6.5 (-120/+100)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 19-15-10, no ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 6 Colin White
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Matthew Tkachuk
94 Ryan Lomberg // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
21 Nick Cousins // 12 Eric Staal // 70 Patric Hornqvist
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
62 Brandon Montour // 18 Marc Staal
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles)
PROJECTED COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS LINEUP
13 Johnny Gaudreau // 38 Boone Jenner // 52 Emil Bemstrom
59 Yegor Chinakhov // 34 Cole Sillinger // 14 Gustav Nyquist
19 Liam Foudy // 12 Brendan Gaunce // 91 Kent Johnson
50 Eric Robinson // 7 Sean Kuraly // 24 Mathieu Olivier
4 Vladislav Gavrikov // 47 Marcus Bjork
23 Jake Christiansen // 44 Erik Gudbranson
15 Gavin Bayreuther // 2 Andrew Peeke
40 Daniil Tarasov
70 Joonas Korpisalo