Once again, the Panthers couldn't hold a lead until the end of the third period and it cost them a point. Fans hoping for a decisive comeback from the Cats after Monday night's shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers were treated to another game-tying goal from the visitors late in the third period.
It was much the same the last time the Columbus Blue Jackets visited Sunrise. In that game, Rostislav Olesz scored the first goal late in the first period and the Panthers held the one-goal lead until Raffi Torres tied it with just under three minutes in the final period. He would score again just over a minute later and the Panthers would lose that one in regulation.
Tonight, the Panthers would take an early lead on goals from David Booth and Cory Stillman, who redirected a Radek Dvorak shot with his head. Despite dominating the Jackets for large stretches of the period and outshooting them 15 to 7, the Panthers held only a one goal lead after the first, with Fedor Tyutin picking up a late goal on a Panthers turnover.
The Jackets picked it up in the second, putting 11 shots on Tomas Vokoun and hitting everyone in sight. A lot of shoving after the whistles led to a mid-period fight between Darcy Hordichuk and Jared Boll. Derek MacKenzie attempted to start another 18 seconds later while on his way to the penalty box to serve a charging penalty, but the linesmen stepped in quickly. The power play was a short one as Cory Stillman was called for holding halfway through. The Panthers dodged a bullet late in the period as the Blue Jackets appeared to have scored the tying goal. A review showed that the puck never entered the net, but ultimately, the Cats failing to score on four power plays would cost them the game.
The Blue Jackets took over in the third period, pinning the Panthers in their zone for long periods and outshooting them 17 to 9. They kept coming at the Panthers, who finally got some time out of their own zone with 3 minutes left on the clock. They would get trapped again with under two minutes left, but Columbus' goalie stayed in until the Panthers iced the puck with 1:17 left. Pete DeBoer called a timeout, the Panthers took the faceoff and iced the puck again. They would get a change a few seconds later when the puck went in the netting, but Antoine Vermette tied the game on the next shift as the Jackets crashed the net in an eerie echo of Monday night's game.
Columbus again dominated in the overtime period and when Dmitry Kulikov took a holding penalty with 1:27 left, everyone in the building knew how the game was going to end. R.J. Umberger scored the game winner and a foul mood hung in the air as the Panthers' faithful left the building.
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