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Post Game: Blue Jackets 4, Panthers 3 (SO)

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets might be wanted in the state of Florida after stealing two points tonight at BB&T Center.

Sergei Bobrovsky set a new franchise record making 52 saves - 39 of those coming after the first period - to give his team a fighting chance in a game that was dominated by the Florida Panthers. At the end of regulation, the Panthers had attempted nearly three times the number of shots that Columbus had (94-32) but were locked in a 3-3 tie, only after rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the second period.

Nick Foligno scored on a wrap-around just 1:07 into the game, and then Cam Atkinson scored on a breakaway midway through the first period to stake the Jackets to an early multi-goal lead. Florida came alive late in the period and put on a good push, though unable to crack Bobrovsky despite 13 shots in the frame.

The second period was a different story and if not for Bobrovsky, this game may have had a far different outcome.

Boone Jenner scored 57 seconds into the second period, burying a rebound off Kerby Rychel’s quick shot from the slot. Those two shots gave the Blue Jackets 13 total, and they would record only one more shot on goal the rest of the period. In fact, when 60 minutes of regulation time was complete, the Panthers were out-shooting the Jackets 51-18 and had numerous opportunities to break the tie.

But time after time, it was Bobrovsky stepping up and making a big save at a big time to keep it level. He made four more saves in overtime and was a perfect 4-for-4 in the shootout, the highlight being a lunging glove stop on Nick Bjugstad in the third round.

Ryan Johansen was the only goal-scorer in the shootout, patiently waiting for Roberto Luongo to make the first move before lifting a quick wrister over the blocker side to lock up the extra point for Columbus.

“We sat back for 40 minutes,” Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell said.

“(Bobrovsky) stole this one, no question,” said coach Todd Richards.

A win is a win, as they say, and the Blue Jackets are off to Tampa with back-to-back wins in their back pocket. The two straight wins are their first consecutive wins since defeating Philadelphia and San Jose (Nov. 14-15).

The turning point in this game might have been the Blue Jackets’ third goal. It was 3-0, the Panthers didn’t have much going on, and all of a sudden, the switch went on. The game was played at a higher pace and the Jackets had to respond. Despite being heavily out-shot and spending the majority of the game chasing the puck, they were just good enough defensively and their goaltender was outstanding to earn not just one point, but the full complement after a four-round shootout.

at Tampa Bay Lightning
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Amalie Arena
Tampa, FL

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