Post-game wrap: Panthers 3, Blue Jackets 2
Florida breaks their season long five-game losing streak, and get their first win against the Blue Jackets in over seven years.
The Columbus Blue Jackets came into the BB&T Center one game shy of .500, and the Panthers had an active five-game losing streak. That all changed in front of the sparse crowd in Sunrise.
After a scoreless first period, the game started to take shape early in the second. Jack Johnson lit the lamp for his fifth goal of the season, assisted by Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno with just over a minute gone. The Panthers answered less than two minutes later with Jonathan Huberdeau’s ninth. Huberdeau collected the loose puck in front of Curtis McElhinney and banged it home. Assists went to Brad Boyes and Aleksander Barkov.
Aaron Ekblad lit the lamp for the seventh time this year as the period turned twelve minutes old with a laser from the point. Brian Campbell and the much-maligned Dave Bolland earned the helpers on the play. Soon afterward, the Cats went on the penalty kill when Sean Bergenheim was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the ensuing power play was unproductive for the Jackets.
With just over a minute left in the period, Alexander Wennberg thwacked the puck out of the air with the shaft of his stick, sending the biscuit tumbling past Roberto Luongo. Play stopped for a few minutes while the play was reviewed. There was apparently some question as to whether the puck was deflected off Wennberg’s glove and if the stick was above the crossbar. In the end, the goal was good for his second of the season. Artem Anisimov and Josh Anderson earned assists on the play. The period ended with a Blue Jackets power play after Erik Gudbranson sliced the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty.
The third period didn’t see much in the way of chances for either team until seven minutes remained in the game, when Bergenheim redirected a Dmitry Kulikov shot past McElhinney for a 3-2 lead. At the same moment, Johnson high-sticked Bergy in the face and earned a four-minute minor penalty. Since the penalty occured at the same moment as the goal, the penalty was reduced to two minutes.
With just over a minute remaining, the Jackets pulled the goaltender to try and solve Luongo and send the contest into an extra frame, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Check back in the AM for Todd's more in-depth recap, and keep it here for all of your Florida Panthers news.