It’s getting messy in Sunrise. Three nights after giving up eight goals to Tampa Bay, the Florida Panthers got scorched again, this time falling 7-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a game between two teams heading in opposite directions.
The Panthers opened the scoring with defenseman Mark Pysyk getting the goal 4:27 into the action. Pysyk headed to the net to bang home the rebound of Vincent Trocheck’s sharp-angle shot for his second of the year. Jamie McGinn drew the secondary assist on the play.
Josh Anderson responded at the 11:32 mark, getting wide open in front, after Mike Matheson vacated his post, to receive a pass from Brandon Dubinsky, Pierre-Luc Dubious also collected a helper.
Anderson stuck again to give Columbus its first lead 4:55 later. This time, Anderson beat James Reimer with a quick wrister from the right circle after taking a pass from Markus Nutivaara. Boone Jenner picked up the second assist on Anderson’s sixth goal.
Ian McCoshen blew a slap shot through traffic and by Sergei Bobrovsky 35 seconds into the middle frame to even the score. Radim Vrbata fed the rookie at the left point after Trocheck’s shot from the right side missed wide.
Markus Hannikainen put the Blue Jackets back on top at 5:21 when he scored his first of the campaign with a backhander from the slot. Aleksander Barkov blocked David Savard’s shot from the point, but the puck went right to the waiting Finn. Matt Calvert started the play off by stealing the puck from Pysyk behind the net.
After getting assists on his team’s first two tallies, Trocheck notched one of his own with a shorthanded goal at 8:43. Trocheck collected a loose puck after Zach Werenski fell down at center ice and fooled Bobrovsky by fanning on his shot, which somehow squeaked in anyways.
Momentum Panthers? Nope... Oliver Bjorkstrand hammered the puck past Reimer from the right circle, with the assists going to Seth Jones and Sonny Milano, just 28 seconds after the Trocheck’s shorty. Antti Niemi would enter the game after Bob Boughner gave Reimer the hook.
It only took Bjorkstrand 2:26 to solve Niemi. The shifty Dane shed McCoshen in the corner and worked his into the slot before firing it by a kneeling Pysyk and Florida’s backup. Assists on the goal went to Calvert and Werenski.
Tyler Motte put the game away 3:45 into third. Motte collected a loose puck in the slot after Jenner lost it trying to split the defense and snapped it home. Nutivaara added his second point of the night with the second assist.
Columbus tacked on one more power-play goal to complete the scoring at 6:12. Jenner, camped out in front, redirected Artemi Pananrin’s hard shot past Niemi with Keith Yandle off for roughing. Werenski was awarded the second assist for feeding the “Bread Man.”
The wheels have come completely off for the Panthers. After opening the homestand with an impressive win over Anaheim and gaining a hard-fought point against Detroit, the Cats have been gashed for 15 goals in the last two. Something has give here. Dale Tallon need to make a trade to address the situation on the back end or players need to sit, with AHLers Josh Brown and/or Ed Wittchow to get a kick at can and clearing the crease.
Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)
Yarn & Stitches
- Six Blue Jackets posted multi-point games, led by Boone Jenner’s three-point (1G/2A) effort.
- After combining for ten points against the Lightning, Florida top line was kept off the score sheet with each forward ending the night with a -2 rating. Evgenii Dadonov failed to get a shot on goal.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand's second period power-play goal was the first on the road in fifteen tries this season for Columbus, which entered 3 for 35 overall with the man-advantage.
- Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves to raise his record to 8-2 on the season. “Bob” is sporting a gaudy .932 save percentage and 2.07 GAA.
- Meanwhile in the Panthers’ crease... James Reimer stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced before being pulled for the second straight game. Antti Niemi finished up with 18 saves on 21 shots.
- In addition to his two goals, Josh Anderson led all skaters with seven shots.
- Visit The Cannon and take one across the bow. Just like the Panthers did last night.