Despite ultimately blowing a three goal lead and losing Thursday’s game, the Columbus Blue Jackets fared much better in their second time facing the Florida Panthers this week.
“Having a 4-1 lead in the third, you cant lose those games. That’s a fact,” said Patrik Laine, who sat the last seven minutes of the game. “I thought I was playing good, but I guess I thought wrong.”
Blue Jackets goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins, started his first game back since being placed on injured reserve Feb. 20 for his shoulder. He made several big saves including multiple in a row in overtime.
While the first period was scoreless, the Blue Jackets led in shots on goal 4-2, then later 6-4. By the end of the period, though, Florida led in shots on goal 8-7.
With about seven seconds left in the first period the puck bounced off of Barkov’s shoulder and into the stands. However players and an official gathered around briefly thinking it had lodged itself in Aleksander Barkov’s equipment.
David Savard said he thinks they defended well in the first period, “It’s always good to get involved early in the game,” he said. Savard blocked two shots in a row from Jonathan Huberdeau, and the Blue Jackets media team asked what the two opposing players were chatting about. “We were just joking around,” said Savard. “I didn’t think he could see the net so I wondered why he was shooting at it.”
The second period opened up with the game’s first penalty, about two minutes in. Patric Hornqvist received a penalty for tripping.
Bjorkstrand opens scoring
Oliver Bjorstrand scored the first goal of the game assisted by Max Domi and Jack Roslovic a few minutes after their power play.
Shortly after Carter Verhaeghe received a penalty for high-sticking.
Then, about halfway through the period, Bjorkstrand scored the second goal of the game assisted by Riley Nash who passed the puck up from behind the net. “He made a really nice pass to me,” said Bjorkstrand. “I think we just have to find a way to get the puck out of our zone fast,” he said in regard to winning the game.
The Panthers got a goal of their own on the scoreboard with about two minutes left in the second period. Patric Hornqvist deflected the puck into the net off a shot by Gustav Forsling.
With less than a minute left in the period, Seth Jones received a penalty for interference.
Patrik Laine scored a power play goal on the Blue Jackets third power play of the night after Alexander Wennberg received a penalty for tripping. Laine was assisted by Zach Werenski and Cam Atkinson.
Shortly after, Max Domi scored, navigating the puck around a fallen Panthers skater. Domi later confirmed he had been trying to pass to Riley Nash when he scored.
Panthers come back
The Panthers quickly made the score 4-2 as Ryan Lomberg scored his first career NHL goal assisted by Noel Acciari.
Owen Tippett scored his third career NHL goal, making the score 4-3 assisted by MacKenzie Weegar and Mason Marchment. Tippett also scored against the Blue Jackets earlier this week.
Barkov made a one-timer on a power play, tying the game with about five and a half minutes left. Michael Del Zotto had received a penalty for interference.
Frank Vatrano scored the Panthers’ final goal shortly into overtime, ending the game.
“That’s hockey right? When it’s overtime anything can happen,” said Max Domi. “At the end of the day, we did some good things tonight. We’ve got to believe in each other and believe in ourselves.”
Vladislav Gavrikov was not present at Thursday’s game due to the birth of his child.
Gustav Nyquist is practicing with the team, wearing a regular contact jersey.
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