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Bobrovsky (52 saves), Blue Jackets beat Panthers

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Columbus Blue Jackets squandered a three-goal lead Thursday, but that didn't prevent them from defeating the Florida Panthers again.

For that they can thank Sergei Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky made a franchise-record 52 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped all four Florida players in the shootout to help the Blue Jackets make it 10 in a row against the Panthers with a 4-3 win at BB&T?Center.

"He stole this one, without question,"?Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "He was tremendous in the game. He's the only reason why we got two points."

Ryan Johansen ended the game when he scored in the bottom of the fourth round, beating Roberto Luongo with a wrist shot high on the blocker side.

It was Columbus' first goal in 10 shootout attempts this season. Florida (10-7-7) is 1-4 in shootouts, Columbus (8-15-2) is 1-1.

Bobrovsky stopped Jonathan Huberdeau, Jussi Jokinen, Brad Boyes and Nick Bjugstad in the shootout after breaking the franchise record of 48 saves set by Pascal Leclaire against the Panthers, and Marc Denis against the San Jose Sharks, each in the 2003-04 season.

"I?can't remember most of the shots,"?Bobrovsky said. "I'm happy. We're happy to get the two points. It's important for us."

The Panthers haven't defeated the Blue Jackets since a 5-2 victory at Columbus on April 21, 2007.

The Blue Jackets have defeated the Panthers in their past two games, and matched their season high for consecutive wins. Columbus, which defeated Florida 2-1 on Monday, will try for its first three-game winning streak of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

"[Bobrovsky] stole us a couple of points tonight,"?Johansen said. "We definitely didn't deserve to win. Right now we need points and we got two points, so we'll take them and just try to be better Saturday."

Bobrovsky, who entered with a 6-0-0 record and 1.81 goals-against average in his previous six starts against Florida, helped Columbus win despite being outshot 38-7 in the second and third periods.

The Panthers, whose two losses in their past five games have been against the Blue Jackets, missed a chance to move four games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011-12 season.

"We can't get down 3-0 to any team in the League,"?Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We battled back, give the guys credit, but anytime you get 55 shots you should win the hockey game. It didn't happen tonight."

Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a six-game losing streak Monday. Rookie Kerby Rychel had two assists, giving him three in his first three NHL games.

Bjugstad had two goals when the Panthers scored three times in a span of 4:37 in the second period after trailing 3-0. It was the Panthers' fastest three goals since March 16, 2013, when they did it in 1:43 in a 4-3 victory against the New York Islanders.

"We got ticked off,"???Luongo said. "It wasn't the start we wanted. It wasn't the start I wanted. I thought it could have been better. But you've got to give the guys credit. They really took over the game after they made it 3-0 and I barely got any action the rest of the game. Big props to the guys in front of me to battle back and tie the game up. We could have easily taken the lead, but I thought Bobrovsky made a lot of huge saves for them. It came down to a shootout and unfortunately we lost, but the effort was there definitely for the last 40 minutes."

Bjugstad had an assist, Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist, and Huberdeau had two assists.

Luongo, who returned in a 4-3 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday after missing two games with an arm injury, made 17 saves.

Columbus led 2-0 before Jenner made it a three-goal lead 51 seconds into the second period. Jenner, who scored the game-winning goal Monday, put home a rebound after Luongo stopped a shot from Rychel.

"I???don't know if we took our foot off the accelerator, but I???think up 3-0 we were looking for the fourth goal and I???always want to score the next goal,"???Richards said. "But we started to do some things, giving some momentum, and then they were coming. And then under the pressure we took some penalties. They clearly had the momentum then and it put us on our heels."

Fleischmann began the Florida comeback at 2:54 of the second period with his second goal of the season. He took a feed from Huberdeau on a 2-on-1 and beat Bobrovsky with a shot high on the glove side.

Bjugstad made it 3-2 at 5:04 when his soft backhand from the slot area seemed to fool Bobrovsky and slid between his legs. Bjugstad tied the game at 7:31 on the power play when his shot from the side of the net went off Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson.

Florida took advantage of four power-play opportunities to outshoot Columbus 19-3 in the second period. The Blue Jackets managed one shot on goal in the final 19:09.

"It was embarrassing,"???Atkinson said. "It was absolutely embarrassing. Probably the worst period we've ever had. Thank God for our goaltender, he kept us in the game the whole time. He bails us out day in and day out and thank God we got that win for him because he deserves it."

The Blue Jackets had a 2-0 lead before the halfway mark of the first period. Foligno scored at 1:07 with a wraparound, and Atkinson made it 2-0 at 9:51 when he beat Luongo on a breakaway with a wrist shot high to the glove side.

"After the first, we had a dominant performance,"???Gallant said. "Everybody had opportunities, everybody had chances to score. [It's]???great to get the point down 3-0, but we really wanted that two points tonight."

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