Panarin expected to play as Blue Jackets visit Senators
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Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella painted a graphic picture in detailing why star forward Artemi Panarin was unable to play in the team's last game.
Presumably over his illness, Panarin was spotted at Thursday's practice and is expected to play in his 300th NHL contest the following night as the Blue Jackets bid to end a two-game skid against the host Ottawa Senators.
Panarin, whose name is a popular one as the NHL trade deadline draws near, leads the team in assists (43) and points (67). The 27-year-old Russian has scored four goals and set up three others in a four-game stretch before being held off the scoresheet in Monday's 5-1 setback versus Tampa Bay.
Tortorella ventured into "TMI" territory in describing the ins and outs of Panarin's illness the following day, and Columbus was left feeling ill after a 3-2 loss in Montreal.
"It's two games now where I felt like we played well and got nothing to show for it," captain Nick Foligno said. "We have to find a way to play the full game. These little blips in the game are what's costing us."
Josh Anderson recorded his fifth multi-point performance of the season and second in the last seven games with a goal and an assist against the Canadiens. Anderson's career-high 21st goal in the second period accounted for his sixth in the last 10 contests and his 22:27 of ice time was the most among forwards.
"I feel pretty good," the 24-year-old Ontario native said. "I think I'm getting scoring chances and playing the game I need to play to be successful. I'm pretty confident right now."
Two-time Vezina Trophy recipient Sergei Bobrovsky appears to have regained his confidence, answering his 2-5-0 mark with a bloated 4.18 goals-against average and pedestrian .858 save percentage in January with a 5-2-0 record to go along with a 2.30 GAA and .922 save percentage this month.
Bobrovsky, who is also rumored to be swapped prior to the trade deadline, improved to 7-5-1 in 13 encounters with the Senators after turning aside 22 shots in a 6-3 win on New Year's Eve.
While Columbus sits one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, Ottawa resides significantly lower in the standings. The Senators fell for the ninth time in 12 contests after concluding their four-game road trip with Thursday's 4-0 setback against New Jersey.
Ottawa reportedly is entertaining trade talks with unrestricted free-agent forwards Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and former Ohio State star Ryan Dzingel ahead of the deadline. All three players were scratched prior to Thursday's contest for precautionary reasons, according to the team.
"You don't really have a choice, so it doesn't really matter to me," Dzingel said of the constant trade talk. "If it happens, you pack your stuff up and move on. It's a business and my fiancee and family know that, so it's pretty much that simple."
Craig Anderson will look to pick up his first win since Dec. 17 when he mans the crease on Friday. The 37-year-old Anderson, who has allowed nine goals in his last two outings, boasts a 12-6-0 record with two shutouts, a 2.47 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 18 career encounters with Columbus.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 21, 2019