One a night when the Florida Panthers got all the scoreboard help they could ask for, the struggling team could not hold up their end of the bargain, falling 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Florida’s sixth loss in the last seven games dropped them seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 13 games left in the season.
After a bot of slow start, the Panthers forged ahead at 18:15 of the first period when Jonathan Marchessault smacked his own rebound past a down-and-out Sergei Bobrovsky. Thomas Vanek and Alex Petrovic drew the helpers on Marchessault’s team-leading 23rd goal.
The Blue Jackets scored twice in 3:30 span late in the second period to take a lead they would not relinquish.
Zach Werenski tied the game at the 15:51 mark with a shot from a sharp angle that eluded James Reimer and went top shelf. The assists went to Josh Anderson And Matt Calvert. Calvert, who Reimer denied on a shorthanded opportunity earlier, also provided a screen on the play.
Anderson notched the eventual game-winner with a tidy deflection of Jack Johnson’s blast from the point with 39 seconds left in the stanza. William Karlsson collected the secondary assist on Anderson’s 15th.
The Cats tested Bobrovsky twelve times in the final frame, but could not find the equalizer. “Bob” came with a big stop on Jaromir Jagr’s redirection of Keith Yandle’s shot with just over twenty seconds remaining.
Once again, the Panthers inability to add to a lead or reach the three-goal mark cost them a much-needed two points. The Cats get right back at it tonight with a game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Yarn & Stitches
- Sergei Bobrovsky’s 33-save effort netted the veteran keeper his league-leading 38th win of the season.
- Colton Sceviour had a golden opportunity to extended his club’s lead midway through the second, but his shorthanded five-hole bid was repelled by Bobrovsky.
- Jonathan Marchessault’s goal gave the winger four goals and one assist over the last four games.
- The Blue Jackets limited Aleksander Bsarkov to one shot on goal and kept Florida’s first line off the score sheet. Jonathan Huberdeau registered four shots and Jaromir Jagr finished with three. Huberdeau was ruled to have interfered with the goal ie, denying the Panthers an early goal.
- James Reimer made 32 stops in taking another undeserved loss. We’ll see if the Cats roll with Reimer again tonight or give Reto Berra his first start. Probably the former.
- The Cannon has the other side of the Blue Jackets win, which denied the Panthers a season-series sweep.