The Columbus Blue Jackets hope to put last night in the past rather quickly. In a Friday night meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes, the Jackets were flat as ever in a 4-2 loss. They dug too big of a hole to get out of, as they pulled within a goal but that was all they could muster. The price in that game just seemed a little fishy, and sure enough, the Hurricanes came out of the night with a win. They were on a back-to-back and added two wins in two nights to their portfolio.
Columbus won’t have to sit around dwelling on the loss for too long, as they’re back on the ice tonight against the Florida Panthers. The trip to Sunrise isn’t too far from Raleigh, so they have that working for them. Sergei Bobrovsky did not put a good effort in last night. He’s been so hot and cold this season that the Jackets just have to hope he doesn’t turn cold at the wrong time later in the season. That’s if he is still with the team. There is still a possibility he gets traded at the deadline.
The Blue Jackets aren’t in a good position when it comes to Bobrovsky. They trade him and they are essentially throwing in the towel on this season. If they keep him, he is likely going to another team who will give him a bigger contract in the offseason.
At 23-14-3 they are kind of stuck in between being sellers or buyers at the deadline. Even if they do go to the playoffs, there isn’t enough firepower to keep up with some of the powerhouses in the Eastern Conference, so it might be in their best interest to send Bobrovsky packing. The fulltime job would belong to Joonas Korpisalo who has been a step down from Bobrovsky.
The best case scenario for Columbus would have been Korpisalo playing well this season. It would have been an easier decision to trade Bobrovsky. However, Korpisalo hasn’t played up to expectations. He is the probable starter for the Jackets tonight against the Panthers. Luongo will counter for the Panthers. Get our free Blue Jackets vs. Panthers pick below.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Florida Panthers Pick
Korpisalo went in to face 14 shots against the Hurricanes and turned back all of them. Bobrovsky had already allowed 3 goals at that point, but John Tortorella nearly pulled off what would have been a genius move yanking him. If it works then you’re a genius, as they say. It almost worked with the Hurricanes getting an empty netter to put the game out of reach in the 3rd. That also gave Korpisalo an opportunity to maybe find some confidence.
Prior to that game, he had allowed 3 goals in each of his last two outings. He doesn’t get too much work in net, but when he does it’s usually been less than ideal. Korpisalo holds a 3.34 GAA and 0.88 save percentage. He does own a solid record of 6-2-2, though, as the offence has given him good goal support. Despite struggling last night, the Jackets have averaged a healthy amount of goals on the road 3.26 per game.
They will likely be able to pick on the Panthers’ defence in this contest. They’ve been a mess in 2018-19 even with Luongo doing his best to hold the blue line afloat. Luongo enters Saturday with a 3.24 GAA and 0.896 save percentage. He’s just getting too old with too many miles on his legs to expect him to carry this team to the playoffs.
Boughner has to be careful about overworking him, as we’re not even at the half-way mark yet. Overall, Florida are 28th in the league with 3.46 goals allowed per game. When Luongo isn’t hot, the scoreboard certainly shows it. There’s already been 19 goals in two games between the Blue Jackets and Panthers. Expect more goals tonight, with the OVER an attractive option in Sunrise on Saturday night.