|@ Blue Jackets (26-29-8)||0||1||1||1||4|
The Panthers had their first power play opportunity of the game early on when Michael Paliotta was penalized for cross checking. This should have been a chance to generate more offense against the Blue Jackets, but the power play did not look good. However, afterward, the Panthers started making some plays. They pushed Korpisalo hard and it paid off. About twelve minutes into the period, Aleksander Barkov scored off of a great pass from Jaromir Jagr. Jussi Jokinen got the secondary assist. Vincent Trocheck moved his way around Seth Jones and nearly scored the team’s second. The Cats were buzzing now. In the first three minutes of play, the Blue Jackets and Panthers played similarly but Columbus hasn’t gotten a shot on goal since then. Luongo had a pretty easy first period. At the end of the period, the Panthers led the Blue Jackets 1-0. They also led in shots on goal 13-1 (wow). The Panthers historically have not played very well against the Blue Jackets, so they will have to overcome that stigma in able to come out with the victory. Yet, with how they have played thus far, I think the Panthers are more than likely to win tonight. I wouldn’t change a thing in the first.
Vincent Trocheck made up for his near-goal in the first period by scoring on a breakaway in the early minutes of the second. At least he thought he did. Tortorella used his Coach’s Challenge, saying that the play was offsides. Evidently it was, and the goal was overturned. There’s no doubt that Vincent Trocheck will be out for blood now. The Blue Jackets were beginning to get the puck on net more often, but the Panthers were right there with them. Luongo got his helmet knocked off and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain but like a true trooper, he kept on playing. Erik Gudbranson would not let it go, though, and he went on to pummel Dalton Prout. There were multiple other scrums in front of the net, but Gudbranson and Prout were the only ones penalized. The two got five minute fighting majors, but Prout got the extra penalty for instigating. In any event, the penalty was killed. Yet, the Panthers still didn’t lose their momentum. Remember when I said that Vincent Trocheck would be out for blood? Well, he certainly was. He shot the puck top-shelf and the Panthers would have the two-goal lead. The power play goal was assisted by Alex Petrovic and Garrett Wilson. Scott Hartnell scored seconds later to redress the Trocheck goal, but the Panthers were still in the lead. The Cats were getting reckless and restless, though, and began challenging everyone they could. This resulted in a Shawn Thornton roughing penalty. The penalty kill lasted only seconds as Scotty Hartnell slashed Alex Petrovic. As soon as Hartnell left the box, he went on to board Dmitry Kulikov and he went right back to where he belongs, which is the penalty box. Once again, the penalty was killed. In this penalty filled period, Dmitry Kulikov was called for holding and this would carry over into the third. At the end of the period, the Panthers led 2-1 and also led in shots on goal 24-11. The Panthers played well this period but didn’t need to pursue some of the fights that they did. One or two were okay, but there were small battles behind the net after every whistle blow, it seemed. You must admire the Panthers’ drive though, which was made even more evident by the shots on goal. Still, a one-goal lead is certainly never safe, especially against the offensively-minded Blue Jackets.
The third period started off with a Trocheck tripping penalty. With two seconds left in the Trocheck penalty, Seth Jones scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket to tie the game. Things were suddenly looking bleak for the Panthers, but Paliotta was penalized for interference and Florida would have the chance to take the lead again. They could not do this, so even strength play continued. Columbus was now the team taking the shots and it paid off for them. Brandon Saad gave the Jackets the lead. This game sure turned around quickly. The Panthers kept pushing but could not bite. Scotty Hartnell would be penalized for delay of game with seven minutes left. Even while the Panthers are trailing, I can at least find solace in the fact that Hartnell has spent a solid amount of time in the penalty box. The penalty was winding down without a Panthers goal but with fifteen seconds left in the advantage, Logan Shaw capitalized. The goal was assisted by Nick Bjugstad and Dmitry Kulikov. The period ended with a Dmitry Kulikov delay of game penalty. The penalty would carry on into overtime. The game was tied at 3 at the end of the period but the Panthers led in shots on goal 30-22.
The Blue Jackets had a very close call early into the overtime period, but it was called off on the ice because it went in on a high stick. The shot was reviewed but the call stood and the play continued on. The Jackets continued to make big moves but Luongo saved each one. At the end of the period, the score was still tied and a shootout would be necessary.
- Cam Atkinson – no goal
- Aleksander Barkov – no goal
- Alex Wennberg – no goal
- Nick Bjugstad – no goal
- Brandon Dubinsky – goal
- Vincent Trocheck – no goal
Aleksander Barkov scored the first goal of the game off of a Jagr pass because of course he did. What can I say about Vincent Trocheck? He had an excellent game tonight and if all was as it should have been, he would have had a hat trick. He is one of the most hardworking players on the team and it clearly showed tonight. Logan Shaw knew when it was crunch time and scored a power play goal to tie the game. Although Kyle Rau didn’t have any points tonight, his hard work on the forecheck and his multiple strong chances will surely make it difficult for the Cats to send him down.
The Panthers will continue their back-to-back matinee games in Minnesota tomorrow, February 28th, at 3:00 pm ET against the Wild. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.