Pierre-Luc Dubois managed to set up Seth Jones for the game-winning goal 18 seconds into overtime from his knees after taking a pass from Artemi Panarin and getting dumped by Jonathan Huberdeau to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers.
The Panthers continued their penchant for giving up early goals, allowing the Blue Jackets to take a 1-0 lead when Anthony Duclair scored on a breakaway 1:37 after opening puck-drop. Duclair got behind Mike Matheson and beat James Reimer glove side after taking a pass from Alexander Wennberg after an offensive zone turnover. Three of Duclair’s nine goals this season have come against the Cats.
Florida shook off another slow start and took the lead before the end of the opening frame.
Huberdeau tied it at 13: 19 when he took a nice behind the back pass from Aleksander Barkov and slipped a shot underneath Bobrovsky. Keith Yandle collected the secondary assist for his 500th career point.
Mike Hoffman picked off a pass in the neutral zone and skated in and ripped a shot by Bobrovsky from the edge of the right circle for his 20th goal of the season 4:50 later,
The Blue Jackets evened the game late in the second when Boone Jenner’s shot bounced off Reimer and into the air, and Josh Anderson swatted it home. Reimer denied Anderson on a breakaway, but Jenner was able to collect the rebound and keep the play alive.
Columbus regained the lead when Brandon Dubinsky took the puck away from Matheson and when the length of the ice down the right side and put a shot between Rreimer’s glove and leg pad. Another glaring piece of bad puck management by Matheson and one Reimer would like to have back.
Aaron Ekblad got the Panthers a point when he converted Jared McCann’s centering feed with a crafty backhand shot along the ice that fooled Bobrovsky with 2:13 left in regulation. McCann made a nice rush after taking a pass from Yandle.
Once again, a slow start, poor puck management and a shot that should have been stopped conspired to cost the Panthers in the standings. With a tough five-game road trip looming, the Cats came up short in a game they really needed to win. Florida only managed to take one point off Columbus, who played the night before, this season, with the two losses at the BB&T Center being of the highly-frustrating variety. The Panthers are now nine points out of a playoff spot, a gulf that seems insurmountable for this inconsistent club at the moment.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)
World Junior Championship
In better organizational news, Aleksi Heponiemi won gold when Finland edged the United States 3-2, and Grigori Denisenko collected a bronze medal thanks to Russia’s 5-2 win over Switzerland at the World Junior Championship in Vancouver.
The two Panthers prospects tied for the tournament scoring lead with nine points. Denisenko amassed four goals and five assists in seven games, while Heponiemi collected three goals and six helpers. Owen Tippett scored two goals and two assists in five games for Canada.
Heponiemi set up Otto Latavala’s third period goal which put the Finns ahead 2-0 and finished the title game with three shots on goal and an even rating in 19:28 TOI.
Denisenko had the primary assist on Klim Kostin’s second period goal that turned out to be the game-winner. He logged 14:26 of ice time and had two shots on goal and was named to the Media All-Star team as one of the three forwards, along with American Ryan Poehling and Switzerland’s Philipp Kurashev.