The Blue Jackets bring a six-game home skid into Tuesday night’s matchup with the Panthers, winless in their last six on the road.
Florida (29-36-11) has already been eliminated from playoff contention and Columbus (33-31-11) will be soon. These franchises have combined for one playoff appearance and no postseason wins over the last 10 seasons.
The Blue Jackets are 0 for 30 on the power play in their last nine games while the Panthers are 4 for 47 in their last 17. Columbus owns the third-worst unit in the league at 13.9 percent, just ahead of Florida’s 13.3 mark.
“Our power play is a big reason why we haven’t had the same success we had earlier in January and February,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel admitted.
Goals of any kind have been hard to come by for either team.
The Blue Jackets have never lost seven straight at home, and haven’t given the fans at Nationwide Arena much to cheer about recently. They narrowly avoided their third straight home shutout in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver despite a 40-24 edge in shots.
“We just couldn’t score, couldn’t bury it,” forward R.J. Umberger(notes) said. “We peppered them with shots from everywhere. We had a lot of rebounds. It’s frustrating when you get those chances and don’t score.”
The Panthers have been shut out twice in the first four games of this trip, which ends Tuesday. They have scored three times in the last two games, and fell 2-1 in a shootout to Pittsburgh on Sunday despite a 38-28 advantage in shots.
“That’s as good a road game as we can play as a group,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “I thought we limited their opportunities. We got shots … but our fourth line gets us a goal and we can’t find a way to find another one.”
Florida is 0-4-2 in its last six on the road. The Panthers have not lost seven straight on the road since a 0-10-3 slide Oct. 27-Dec. 17, 2005.
Umberger had the Blue Jackets’ lone goal Sunday, moving him one point shy of his career-high point total of 55 set last season.
Columbus, though, has been largely stymied despite outshooting its last three opponents. The Blue Jackets lost to Vancouver backup goalie Cory Schneider(notes) after defeats earlier this month to Boston’s Tuukka Rask(notes) and Detroit’s Joey MacDonald(notes), also backups.
“It’s in our heads and it’s been going on for a few games now,” Arniel said. “The same pucks aren’t going in like they were earlier.”
The Blue Jackets have won three straight against Florida for a 6-4-0 advantage in the all-time series, winning 3-2 on the road Jan. 19 on Umberger’s power-play goal in overtime.