Columbus
Blue Jackets
25-45-8-4
Florida
Panthers
28-35-15-4

42 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CBJ
FLA
game preview

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Florida Panthers

Saturday, 01.03.2004 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

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Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Florida Panthers
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Florida Panthers

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (10-21-4-3) at Florida Panthers (12-17-9-2).

TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

Gerard Gallant will try to take another step toward getting a full-time gig.

Fresh off a win in his debut as interim coach, Gallant will try to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a second straight victory when they travel to Florida to play the Panthers.

Marc Denis made 37 saves to help Columbus beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 on Friday in Gallant's first game since replacing Doug MacLean, who stepped down on Thursday.

"From 11 o'clock yesterday morning until before the puck dropped, I was nervous," Gallant said. "I was butterflied and I was a little scared. It was really good to get the puck dropped and get the game going because that's what I enjoy most about hockey is the game itself and it went real well."

Gallant managed to get what took MacLean -- also the team's president and general manager -- 15 games to accomplish -- a win on the road. The Blue Jackets are 2-11-1-2 away from Nationwide Arena.

"With everything that's happened around our team the last couple of days, this was a great way to start something new," Denis said. "Obviously it's not the whole battle -- there's a long way to go -- but you've got to start somewhere.

"We said we'd make yesterday Day 1 with a change behind our bench and hopefully we'll have a different philosophy and a different feeling about this group."

Rostislav Klesla scored his first goal in 35 games for Columbus, and Manny Malhotra added an empty-net goal with 1:10 left for the Blue Jackets.

The Panthers had their six-game home unbeaten streak (3-0-3) snapped with a 2-1 loss to visiting Philadelphia on Friday. Rookie Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers, who also saw their three-game overall unbeaten streak (1-0-2) end.

Roberto Luongo made 21 saves in the loss for Florida, which starts a four-game road trip after this game.

2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 03 '04CBJ 0 at FLA 1S. Weiss
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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