Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets got goals from four different players in a 4-0 blanking of the Florida Panthers at Nationwide Arena. The win was the tenth-straight for the surging Blue Jackets.
After a well-played, scoreless first period from two of the NHL’s hottest teams, Artemi Panarin picked off the puck in the neutral zone and skated his way into the slot before sliding it over to Cam Atkinson, who blew a one-timer by Roberto Luongo 59 seconds into the middle frame.
The goal ignited the Blue Jackets and had the Panthers reeling. Sonny Milano took advantage, coming off the bench into wide-open space in the right circle to receive a pass from Matt Calvert before quickly snapping it high into the net on Luongo’s glove side at the 3:20 mark. The second assist on the play went to Pierre-Luc Dubois.
After taking a pass from Dubois, Seth Jones played catch with Atkinson before blasting a slapper off Colton Sceviour and by Luongo. The power-play marker, which came 2:22 after Milano’s goal, ended a string of twenty-four straight kills by the Panthers.
Florida peppered Bobrovsky with 14 shots in the third period, but Columbus netminder was up to the task. Here he makes an impressive series of saves as a Panthers power play comes to an unfruitful end.
Former Panther Thomas Vanek completed the scoring with an unassisted empty-netter with 2:25 left on the clock after a big hit from Dubois separated the puck from Keith Yandle.
While the Blue Jackets continued their climb up the standings, the disappointing outcome left Florida one point behind New Jersey for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers had some good chances, including a Frank Vatrano breakaway in the first, and hit some posts, but couldn’t bounce back from the three goals Columbus put up in the first 5:42 of the second period. The Cats return home for a one-off against the Arizona Coyotes before heading out a four-game road trip.
Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)
Collars & Cuffs
- The Blue Jackets have outscored opponents 42-22 during their impressive ten-game winning streak.
- More on the streak… Columbus joined Philadelphia (1984-86) and Pittsburgh (2010-13) as the only NHL franchises to record ten-game win streaks in consecutive seasons.
- Roberto Luongo finished the game with 29 saves. Luongo has dropped three of his last four starts.
- Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his 34th win and posted his fifth shutout of the season. Three of those wins have come against the Cats.
- Seth Jones returned from missing three games with an upper-body injury. and recorded his 50th point with the power-play goal. Jones has nine points (5G/4A) in his past five games.
- Milestones games last night for Vincent Trocheck (300th) and Columbus’ Denis Savard (400th).
- The Cannon has more the Columbus win, which completed the season-series sweep. Florida did pick up a point in a shootout loss on January 7./
Condensed Game (courtesy of NHL.com)