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game recap

Jackets knock off Panthers 4-1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

NHL.com

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Jackets knock off Panthers 4-1
Florida Panthers 1, Columbus Blue Jackets 4
Three Stars of the Game
Nikita Nikitin
1st
G: 2Shots: 5
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 25:45
Allen York
2nd
SA: 31TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 21-22
PIM: 0PP: 9-9
SV%: .968SH: 0-0
R.J. Umberger
3rd
G: 2Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 17:53
The Florida Panthers' run to their first playoff berth since 2000 hit a pothole Friday night.

Defenseman Nikita Nikitin scored twice and had an assist, R.J. Umberger also had two goals, and rookie Allen York made 30 saves as the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets' beat Florida 4-1 on Friday night, keeping the Panthers from moving closer to clinching a playoff berth.

Florida, which avoided a shutout when Tomas Kopecky scored on a rebound with 7:57 left in regulation, still leads Washington by four points in the race for first in the Southeast Division and is four points ahead of ninth-place Buffalo, a 5-3 loser to Pittsburgh on Friday.

But it was the second loss in as many nights for the Panthers against a non-playoff team. They were less than a minute away from winning in Minnesota on Thursday, only to have the Wild score with 30.3 seconds remaining in regulation and win in overtime.

Defenseman Erik Gudbranson said the Panthers didn't look past the last-place Blue Jackets.

"Their guys out there are battling for jobs next year, for pride," he said. "They're taking it seriously. No matter where you are in the standings you want to play well."

The Panthers didn't get anywhere near that close this time as Nikitin followed a two-assist game in a victory over Detroit on Wednesday night with goals in the second and third periods. Umberger scored in the first period and added an empty-netter with 47 seconds to play.

"We looked tired for one," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "We looked tight and certainly there were some coaching mistakes that happened that obviously get hung on me. That's the state of things right now."

York, who made 29 saves against Detroit for his first NHL win on Wednesday, was stellar against Florida as the Blue Jackets, assured of the worst record in the NHL, improved to 13-13-1 in their past 27 games.

Columbus spent 20 percent of the first period killing penalties yet left the ice with the lead on Umberger's goal -- his second in two games -- at 3:41. He played give-and-go with Derick Brassard and took a pass in the low slot before catching Jose Theodore leaning the other way.

Florida then failed to capitalize on a two-man advantage for 1:40 of the opening period. The Panthers managed seven shots but York stopped them all and got a key block by defenseman Aaron Johnson.

"It was a great 5-on-3," Florida defenseman Brian Campbell said. "It was great execution all-around for us. The only part we didn't execute is we have to find ways to score goals."

The Blue Jackets made it 2-0 at 11:48 of the second on Nikitin's power-play wrister. Nikitin took a pass from Mark Letestu along the blue line and fired through a pile of bodies. He made it 3-0 at 3:01 of the third with his seventh of the season, giving the Jackets some breathing room before Kopecky's goal.

York said he wasn't worried about losing the shutout.

"Once it went in I was thinking, 'Let's win the game,"' York said. "A shutout would be nice but I'm not playing for shutouts, I'm playing for wins."

The Panthers have a much-needed day off before finishing a four-game trip with a stop in Detroit on Sunday before playing two of their last three at home. Campbell, a member of Chicago's Cup-winning team in 2010, said the Panthers can't think about the points that have gotten away.

"You got to trust each other and play," he said. "You can't play scared. Nobody's a good player playing that way. We got four games left to pour it on. Everybody knows what's at stake."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
scoring summary
1st Period
03:41
CBJ
R.J. Umberger (16) ASST: Derick Brassard (24), Cam Atkinson (4)
1 - 0 CBJ
2nd Period
11:48
CBJ
PPG - Nikita Nikitin (6) ASST: Mark Letestu (12), Vinny Prospal (36)
2 - 0 CBJ
3rd Period
03:01
CBJ
Nikita Nikitin (7) ASST: Derek Dorsett (7), Ryan Johansen (12)
3 - 0 CBJ
07:57
FLA
Tomas Kopecky (9) ASST: Kris Versteeg (28), Dmitry Kulikov (22)
3 - 1 CBJ
19:12
CBJ
EN - R.J. Umberger (17) ASST: Rick Nash (27), Nikita Nikitin (24)
4 - 1 CBJ
penalty summary
1st Period
07:28
CBJ
Mark Letestu  Tripping against  Marcel Goc
10:53
CBJ
Cam Atkinson  Interference against  Scottie Upshall
11:13
CBJ
Jack Johnson  Roughing against  Dmitry Kulikov
2nd Period
09:14
FLA
Erik Gudbranson  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
11:18
FLA
Wojtek Wolski  Too many men/ice - bench
12:46
FLA
Erik Gudbranson  Boarding against  Jared Boll
13:50
CBJ
Derek Dorsett  Slashing against  Ed Jovanovski
13:50
FLA
Ed Jovanovski  Roughing against  Derek Dorsett
15:19
FLA
Tomas Fleischmann  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
19:48
FLA
Krys Barch  Cross checking against  Aaron Johnson
goalie stats
Jose Theodore
SA: 28TOI: 59:12
Saves: 25EV: 19 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .893SH: 0 - 0
Allen York
SA: 31TOI: 60:00
Saves: 30EV: 21 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 9
SV%: .968SH: 0 - 0