|@ Blue Jackets (10-16-1)||0||1||0||0||1|
In the first five minutes of the game, neither team was able to get the puck on net much but there were a lot of physical plays, possibly explaining why Gerard Gallant chose to play Shawn Thornton over Connor Brickley in this game. In particular, Jonathan Huberdeau was putting the pressure on early. The Blue Jackets were not even able to get a shot on goal until the seven minute mark. The first penalty of the game was awarded to the Panthers with eight minutes left in the period. Vincent Trocheck got called for high sticking and the Cats went on the penalty kill. The Panthers have killed all 14 of their penalties in their past four games. The Blue Jackets were finally able to get some shots on goal but they were unable to score on their power play. Sergei Bobrovsky actually had to make a save during the Columbus power play on a shorthanded Willie Mitchell. The Panthers barely caught a break after their penalty kill before Jaromir Jagr was sent to the box on a high sticking call. The Panthers were able to kill this penalty for their 16th straight penalty kill. With less than a minute left in the period, the Panthers finally got a power play chance that would carry over into the second. Ryan Murray was penalized for tripping. At the end of the period, the game was scoreless. Despite being shorthanded twice, the Panthers outshot the Blue Jackets 14-8. Overall, the Panthers played well in the first period. They had a lot of shot opportunities but not many of them were actually decent scoring chances. Next period, the Panthers need to keep shooting and take advantage of rebounds because Bobrovsky can’t save everything.
The second period started off with a bang after a Trocheck shot deflected off of Bobrovsky and into the net. Brian Campbell and Steven Kampfer assisted the goal. The goal was scored after the power play ended but the same line was still on the ice. Reilly Smith had a great opportunity short after but Bob made yet another glove save. The Panthers continued to dominate in shots and possession halfway through the period. With 7:11 left in the period, the Blue Jackets managed to gain some momentum and Michael Chaput scored on a lucky bounce to tie the game. After this, the gameplay became tied as well. Both teams got some decent opportunities but neither could score. At the end of the period, the score was tied at 1. The Panthers still edged out the Blue Jackets in shots on goal 25-16. The Panthers looked more tired this period. They may be realizing that they have won their past four games while neglecting the fact that the Blue Jackets could very well pull out a win to end all of that. Once again, the Panthers need to keep on shooting. The defense has been good but the offense began to dwindle halfway through the period.
The Blue Jackets looked far stronger at the beginning of the third period than they had in the first and the second. Meanwhile, the Panthers were having trouble getting possession of the puck. For the first time in the game, Al Montoya actually had to make some tough saves. The same play continued through the first 15 minutes of the frame. After that first 15 minutes, things only got worse as Brandon Pirri was sent to the sin bin for –you guessed it– high sticking. Thankfully, the Jackets’ power play is not all that great, so the Panthers were able to kill off yet another penalty. Yet, this penalty overlapped with yet another one by six seconds. This one was on Willie Mitchell for cross checking. The Cats were able to kill off their fourth penalty of the game but this is not something they should necessarily be proud of. The score was still tied at 1 at the end of regulation time. The Panthers had 30 shots on goal while the Blue Jackets had 23. The Panthers’ overconfidence tonight may have resulted in a lack of discipline. The Panthers took far too many penalties in this period and it really showed.
The Panthers were able to maintain possession of the puck throughout the whole overtime period. They got some good scoring chances, and Reilly Smith was particularly close to scoring at one point. About halfway through the OT, Columbus got a too many men on the ice penalty and the Panthers would have two minutes of 4-on-3. The Panthers used four forwards on the man advantage but still could not generate enough offense to score. In the end, nobody had scored, so a shootout began.
- Ryan Johansen – no goal
- Brandon Pirri – no goal
- Cam Atkinson – goal
- Vincent Trocheck – no goal
- Alexander Wennberg – no goal
- Jonathan Huberdeau – goal
- Boone Jenner – no goal
- Aleksander Barkov – goal
I must add that Aleksander Barkov’s game winning goal was a two-handed shot, something fans do not see from him very often.
Vincent Trocheck scored a much-deserved goal early in the second period to put the Panthers on the board. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Huberdeau had a couple of great scoring opportunities and were very present on the ice in this game. Al Montoya also saved 22 of 23 shots and secured the win for the Panthers in the shootout. Then, who can forget shootout master Aleksander Barkov? His incredible (two-handed!) goal won the Panthers the game in the shootout.
The Panthers look to finish their road trip sweep on Sunday, December 6th against the New Jersey Devils at 7:00 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.