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Recap: Losing streak hits three as Panthers get dumped 5-3 by Blue Jackets

The Florida Panthers peppered rookie Daniil Tarasov with 50 shots, but the 23-year-old was up to the task, finishing with 47 saves to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 victory.

Meanwhile, the reeling Panthers lost for the third time in a row and have now dropped four of their last five.

The Cats dominated the first period, out-shooting the Blue Jackets 18-4 and taking the early lead when Gustav Forsling collected a turnover off the boards and Matthew Tkachuk redirected his shot in for his eighth of the season at the 7:52 mark.

But as we’ve seen multiple times this season, the Panthers weren’t able to add on to take command of the scoreboard, and a stupid mistake ended up in their net allowing Columbus to tie the score at 11:21.

Marc Staal tried to force a pass across the zone to Brandon Montour that was easily picked off by Yegor Chinakhov, who jetted off the other way and solved Sergei Bobrovsky.

Chinakhov drew a tripping call on Radko Gudas early in the second and the Blue Jackets would convert at 2:53 when Kent Johnson beat Bobrovsky, who was screened by Boone Jenner, from the right circle with the assists going to Johnny Gaudreau and Marcus Bjork.

Florida would bounce back to forge a 2-2 draw with 3:22 left in the frame. After taking a pass from Nick Cousins, Forsling (aka Eric Staal according to Jeff Rimer) picked up his own rebound after missing the net and curled around the zone before dishing off to Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad worked his way from the left side to the net and slipped the puck through Tarasov.

The third period was a complete disaster for the Cats as Columbus scored three times on seven shots to shatter the tie and cruise to victory.

Skating on a 2-on-3 shorthanded rush, Sean Kuraly slid a pass over to Eric Robinson, who had his shot blocked by Ekblad. Unfortunately, the puck ended up caroming off Kuraly’s body and into the net at 1:57.

The Panthers found themselves down by two 5:58 later thanks to some sloppy mistakes. First, Montour couldn’t corral a Sam Bennett pass in the neutral zone, allowing Gaudreau to headman the puck to Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist pinballed off a Matthew Tkacheck, centered back to an open Johnny Hockey in the left circle, and he was given the time to load up and snipe Bobrovsky with a wrist shot.

Columbus would set off the cannon one more time with a power-play goal at 18:11. After Gudas broke up a rush, Barkov turned it over on the boards and Emil Bemstrom crossed to Gaudreau, who found Jenner for the easy finish, Where’s Boone, Katy? All alone behind three Panthers.

Colin White would complete the scoring by pushing the rebound of a Cousins shot from the top of the left circle under Tarasov with 55 ticks left on the clock. Josh Mahura got the secondary assist on the goal. Way too little, way too late…

Coming off a hard-fought shootout loss to Calgary, this one-off roadie against the last place Blue Jackets, who also played on Saturday, seemed a good spot for the Panthers to pick up two points. It wasn’t. Tied going into the third, the Cats decided to implode, much like they did in the first period against Dallas on Thursday, and left Ohio with a pretty embarrassing loss. Once again, the Panthers couldn’t finish when it counted, made an inexperienced goalie look like a Vezina contender, and were hot garbage on special teams, surrendering two power-play goals and one shorthanded. Yuck!

Cuffs & Buttons

  • Daniil Tarasov was making his first NHL start since October 25 after being recalled from AHL Cleveland on an emergency basis. Tarasov collected his second NHL win and established a new career-high for saves in the game.
  • Matthew Tkachuk has scored goals in three straight and extended his point streak to four games (3G/5A). He’s pretty much the only bright spot in what is starting to look like a lost season.
  • Gustav Forsling extended his assist streak to five games. In addition to his two assists, Forsling registered five shots on goal and one hit in 21:43 TOI. He was the only Panther to finish with a +2 rating.
  • Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner each extended point streaks to four games. Gaudreau has a goal and five assists during his, while Jenner has scored four times and added two assists during his run.
  • Nick Cousins two-assist effort was his first multi-point game as a member of the Panthers.
  • For more on Florida’s latest loss, pay a visit to The Cannon./