Columbus Blue Jackets Complete Home and Home Sweep of Florida Panthers With Shootout Victory


97. 4. 113. Final. 3

You couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game if you were the Columbus Blue Jackets. With just over a minute gone in the contest, Dalton Prout rips a shot after a Columbus faceoff win, and Nick Foligno was there to take the rebound and put home a wrap-around attempt, and squeezed the puck under a legs-outstretched Roberto Luongo on the second shot of the game. BOOM. 1-0 Columbus.

From there, the Jackets would be able to hold the Panthers at bay, and a breakaway from Cam Atkinson, in which his speed was put on display (he didn’t even touch the puck until just before the blue line in the offensive zone) put CBJ up 2-0, going top-shelf on Luongo’s glove side. BOOM. 2-0 Lumbus, and all the momentum in the world.

Remember that quick start the Blue Jackets got off to in the first period? Well, they got off to an even quicker start in the second period, as just 51 seconds in, Boone Jenner put home a rebound off of Luongo and caught him completely out of position – Luongo thought he’d go low, he went high. BOOM. 3-0 Jackets.

If you’ll recall, nearly every time we’ve talked about a flaw with this team (pick your option), it’s come to one central theme – playing 60 minutes, or in the CBJ case, a lackthereof. Well, tonight was no different.

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It started with a

Thomas Fleischmann

goal, created on an awful 2-on-1 opportunity with a turnover in the Jackets’ offensive end and taken the other way. But, still 3-1, so still not terrible. Just a breakdown in communication defensively (although, Florida had been picking up momentum – they were outshooting the Jackets 17-13 at this point). Then

Nick Bjugstad

struck – twice – once off an awful trickle-in and then again on the power play, when he took a shoot that was seemingly behind the goal and took a weird bounce off

Sergei Bobrovsky 

to go in, end the power play and most importantly, tie the game.

But, give credit where credit is due. The Jackets didn’t fall apart, they simply bent strongly in the second period. In the third, neither team scored, and the Jackets fought off a continuous barrage of shots from Florida (in fact, the Panthers outshot the Blue Jackets 19-4 in the third period and 19-3 in the second period), but Bob and company stood tall and forced overtime.

The game eventually came to an end when Ryan Johansen slowed towards Luongo, came to a stop, then put his quick wrists to work and riffled the puck top shelf to take the extra point, move their winning streak to 10 in a row over the Panthers, and win their second game in a row overall for the first time since mid-November.

It wasn’t a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one that many times this season we’ve seen Columbus lose. If this were last year, we’d see the exact opposite – a CBJ win – and that’s because they played “Little Turd” hockey.