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Game #41 Recap: Blue Jackets Best Panthers in Overtime, 4-3

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Seth Jones scores the OT winner

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets needed only 18 seconds of overtime to beat the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, as Seth Jones finished off a beautiful Pierre-Luc Dubois pass to give the CBJ a 4-3 win at BB&T Center.

Columbus won the opening draw of overtime and Artemi Panarin circled back to start the rush. He fed PLD, who entered the zone and maintained possession despite being checked to the ice. Dubois, from his knees, found Jones with a brilliant pass through two Panthers in the slot. From there, Jones made no mistake and sent the Sunrise crowd home.

The Blue Jackets blew two leads on the night, allowing the game-tying goal with 2:13 left in regulation. After a fast start went by the wayside, Columbus controlled possession in the second and battled a hard-charging Panthers team for most of the third. The visitors made the most of overtime, though, as the All-Star Jones potted his seventh goal of the season for the win.

Anthony Duclair (9), Josh Anderson (15) and Brandon Dubinsky (4) each scored and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 of 30 shots.

Jonathan Huberdeau (11), Mike Hoffman (20) and Aaron Ekblad (8) scored for Florida. James Reimer made 31 saves on 35 shots.

Columbus improves to 24-14-3 (51 points) with the victory.

First Period

Columbus jumped to an early lead, scoring just 1:37 into the game. Alexander Wennberg blocked a point shot and sent a perfect pass to a streaking Duclair, who fired a shot under Reimer’s glove for a 1-0 CBJ lead.

Blue Jackets 1, Panthers 0, 18:23 left in the first period

Things continued to break the Jackets’ way as PLD created an open shot of his own soon after and a delay of game penalty gave the Blue Jackets a man advantage at 3:27.

You can guess how the power play went. Four shots, no goals.

Columbus did register nine straight shots before the Panthers found their first, nearly six and a half minutes after the opening faceoff.

The Panthers began to pick it up after the penalty kill, though Bob made some solid stops in keeping the home side scoreless, including one on Huberdeau.

Huberdeau would convert eventually, blocking a Seth Jones shot and promptly heading the other way. Jones bumped him off the puck, but Huberdeau headed to the backdoor and waited for a chance to find him. When Barkov did, Huberdeau buried it to tie the game at 1-1.

Blue Jackets 1, Panthers 1, 6:41 left in the first period

Florida kept its foot on the gas as the period progressed and notched another goal with 1:51 to go. Mike Hoffman pounced on a neutral zone pass from Ryan Murray, taking it down the ice and slapping a laser past Bob for a 2-1 Florida lead (and his 20th goal of the season).

Panthers 2, Blue Jackets 1, 1:51 left in the first period

Artemi Panarin nearly evened the game up soon after, dancing through the Panthers zone and firing a shot that glanced off the post. Oliver Bjorkstrand hit a post earlier in the period as well, providing a glimpse as to what could’ve been a lead heading into the break.

Second Period

Both teams slogged through the second period until the Blue Jackets broke through late in the stanza.

Early in the second, Mike Hoffman took a slashing penalty 2:15 into the period for a CBJ power play. The Panthers did a great job of getting in the way of any decent Blue Jacket shots, making sure zero of them went into the net.

Neither side could find much quarter for most of the period. The Blue Jackets managed to create a point blank chance for Markus Hannikainen midway through, but Reimer knocked it aside with his blocker.

The Blue Jackets found some momentum in the final five minutes. Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson looked dangerous with space and Josh Anderson drew a penalty on a breakaway. During the delayed penalty, a Boone Jenner shot deflected over Reimer, slowly enough for Anderson to whack it home in mid-air.

Blue Jackets 2, Panthers 2, 2:56 left in the second period

Ryan Murray picked up an assist on the goal, his 19th of the year.

Seth Jones took Columbus’s first penalty (interfering with Barkov) with 1:49 left in the period, putting the league’s second-most dangerous power play to work. Bob rose to the task several times and the CBJ were able to keep the Panthers from entering the zone for long stretches, killing almost all of the penalty and keeping the game tied 2-2 heading into the final intermission.

Third Period

The rest of the period expired without incident, and it was a new game 11 seconds after the opening faceoff.

The teams traded chances early. Duclair missed wide from in close and Bob stopped Henrik Borgström on the other end as each club looked for the go-ahead goal.

Bob made a flurry of saves that led to a post-whistle scrum and matching roughing penalties for Micheal Haley and Josh Anderson at 6:40.

Enter Brandon Dubinsky.

Dubinsky stripped the puck from Mike Matheson and led a 3-on-1 rush into the Panthers zone. The veteran decided against passing, opting to do it himself and score his fourth of the year.

Look at that scream. Good for Dubi.

Blue Jackets 3, Panthers 2, 13:02 left in the third period

Bob began to take over as the Panthers turned up the heat, making some huge saves as the clock wound down...until a cheeky Aaron Ekblad backhander beat him five-hole with a little over two minutes left in regulation.

Blue Jackets 3, Panthers 3, 2:13 left in the third period

Florida called its timeout with 36.1 to go as they tried to find a game-winner. Nothing doing, though, and the game went to overtime and ended with Seth Jones’s heroics.

Final Thoughts

  • It wasn’t the prettiest win, or the most enjoyable to watch, and you kinda knew Florida was going to score late (even if some of us wished aloud they wouldn’t). Still, two points is two points...especially after last night.
  • Bob didn’t play spectacularly well, but made some big stops. That Ekblad goal was a groaner. Here’s a stat, though: He’s now 13-1-2 lifetime against the Panthers.
  • You’re sick of talking about the power play, I’m sick of talking about the power play. The power play has not scored on its last 23 chances.
  • The Blue Jackets only took one penalty. That proved crucial against a team with as good of a PP as Florida has.
  • The Blue Jackets beat the Panthers in shots, 35-30. In 5v5 situations, the CBJ held the edge in scoring chances (21-17) and high danger scoring chances (9-7), though the other advanced possession numbers were relatively even with a slight edge to Florida in CF% (those according to NaturalStatTrick.com).
  • Repeating: Good for Brandon Dubinsky.
  • Columbus is 9-3-2 when tied after two periods this season. That’s probably good, right?
  • The CBJ stay in the state of Florida to play Tampa on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. A win would be pret-ty big.