Game Preview: Blue Jackets' Road Trip Continues with a Two-Game Series Against the Panthers

By Rob Mixer on April 19, 2021 at 7:19 am
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) and Florida Panthers right wing Owen Tippett (74) battle for the puck during the second period at BB&T Center.
28-12-5 (61 points)

7:00 P.M. – MONDAY, APRIL 19


These are tough games to play. They're even tougher to watch.

Following a 5-1 defeat at American Airlines Center on Saturday night, you can even see it on the forlorn face of Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella. What else can be said, at this point? The Blue Jackets' season is, for all intents and purposes, over...but they still have a handful of games to play before the regular season is fully cooked.

Their weekend series in Dallas wasn't great, to be fair to Tortorella. Columbus scored first in both games before conceding the rest of the way, and there just wasn't a ton of life in the legs of the Blue Jackets–which is one thing there's no excuse for. Their lineup is flush with young players hoping to make an impressions, carve out a job for next season, etc...but their energy level in the second and third periods of both games in Dallas was exhibition-esque.

This Florida trip couldn't come at a worse time for the Blue Jackets (or better time, depending on how you view the outcome of the remaining games). The Panthers are geared up and in a battle for the spot in the Central Division, and so are the Lightning, the next stop on the roadie. Old friend David Savard likely can't wait to face his old teammates later in the week.

Here's a look at tonight's projected (and subject to change) lines for Columbus:

Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines

28 Oliver Bjorkstrand 16 Max Domi 29 Patrik Laine
25 Mikhail Grigorenko 96 Jack Roslovic 13 Cam Atkinson
50 Eric Robinson 42 Alexandre Texier 26 Zac Dalpe
23 Stefan Matteau 21 Josh Dunne 88 Kole Sherwood 

*lines are subject to change

15 Michael Del Zotto 3 Seth Jones
44 Vladislav Gavrikov 4 Scott Harrington
46 Dean Kukan 2 Andrew Peeke
Goalie Backup
90 Elvis Merzlikins 70 Joonas Korpisalo


  • WHERE'S THE JUICE?: Guys like Kole Sherwood, Josh Dunne, and so on...this is your time. Not only do the Blue Jackets need you to make a strong account of yourself, but they also need your energy. This is a team that hasn't exactly played with a spark in the last few weeks, and the only way these last games will be tolerable to play is if there's some sort of collective fortitude. 
  • FIND YOUR 'WHY': This subheader could double as a motivational quote, but it's more or less a directive for the Blue Jackets. What reason do you have for showing up and playing these last games with a purpose, other than the obvious? They can either slog to the finish line, or have some fun with it before everyone departs for an eagerly-awaited offseason. It's up to them.
  • DUNNE DID IT: Let's get this kid some more ice time. Why not? He's been one of the few noticeable Blue Jackets since making his NHL debut last week, and there might be something there. The Blue Jackets are bullish on him and his potential, but let's measure expectations. He could be a solid, cost-effective addition to their bottom six and they love what he brings to the lineup. We should get a long look at him down the stretch.

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