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Game #81 Quickcap: Blue Jackets win; clinch playoff spot!

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Artemi Panarin’s game-winning shootout goal propels Blue Jackets to playoffs.

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

All they had to do was win.

The first period between the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers came down to a scoreless draw, with Columbus firing 15 of the 21 first period shots between the two clubs. Columbus dictated play most of the period, especially in the waning minutes.

In the second, Chris Kreider scored his fifth goal against Columbus, 28th this season, getting the Rangers on the board first.

Later in the third period, Ryan Dzingel scored his 26th of the season to tie the score at a goal apiece, and the Blue Jackets were back in business.

Artemi Panarin scored the go-ahead goal, his 28th, at 14:27 putting a wicked howitzer that even Alexandar Georgiev, who was brilliant on this night, couldn’t handle.

It looked like that would be the game-winner, but the Rangers got the game-tying goal with seconds left, a mad scramble in front of the net as Pavel Buchnevich (21st) tied things at two.

Through a scoreless overtime session, it was Panarin, again, and finally, sealing things with the game-winning goal, 3-2, in a shootout. Columbus officially clinches a playoff spot for the third-straight season, while also staying alive for the first wild card. The Blue Jackets, trailing Carolina by one point in the standings, holds a tie-breaker in the event things end at 98 points after tomorrow. The Hurricanes are at the Flyers Saturday night while the Jackets travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators.

We’ll have the full recap of this one up in the morning, before the game preview of tomorrow night’s clash with the Senators.