Panthers aim for revenge vs. Blue Jackets

( – The Columbus Blue Jackets used a meeting with the
Florida Panthers earlier this week to snap a lengthy losing streak.

The Blue Jackets have a chance to get a winning streak going in Thursday
night’s rematch in Florida.

Columbus followed up consecutive wins over Philadelphia and San Jose on Nov.
14-15 with six straight losses, going 0-5-1 in that span, before recording a
2-1 victory over Florida on Monday.

Matt Calvert and Boone Jenner had the goals and Kerby Rychel, the 19th overall
pick of the 2013 draft, picked up an assist for his first NHL point. Sergei
Bobrovsky had 24 saves in net.

“The guys stepped up tonight,” Columbus head coach Todd Richards said.
“Obviously, this feeling of winning is much better than losing.”

The home victory was the Blue Jackets’ ninth in a row over the Panthers, who
have not won in this series since Nov. 21, 2007.

Columbus has won four straight in Florida and has not lost a game as the
visitor versus the Panthers since Jan. 3, 2004.

The Panthers had a two-game winning streak snapped with Monday’s loss despite
a goal from rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad and 21 saves from Al Montoya.

Florida was then in action the following night in Detroit and held on for a
4-3 win, with Vincent Trocheck notching a goal and two assists.

Jimmy Hayes had a goal and a helper, while Ekblad and Sean Bergenheim had

Roberto Luongo, who had missed Florida’s previous two games due to injury,
returned to make 38 saves.

“We’ve got to learn to do a better job of closing things out,” said Luongo.
“But the sooner we learn how to win these one-goal games the better off we’ll

Getting production from Ekblad has helped. The top overall pick of the 2014
draft has four goals and 13 points in 23 games.

Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky was expected to join his club on its two-
game swing, though he is unlikely to play tonight. Dubinsky has yet to appear
in a game this season due to abdominal surgery, but could be in the lineup on
Saturday versus Tampa Bay.