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game recap

Driedger, Panthers shut out Blue Jackets for sixth straight win

Makes 32 saves, Barkov has goal, assist for Florida, which sweeps four-game homestand

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

Driedger's third career shutout

CBJ@FLA: Driedger makes 32 saves, earns 3rd shutout

Chris Driedger stops all 32 Blue Jackets shots, recording his third career NHL shutout in the Panthers' 3-0 victory

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SUNRISE, Fla. -- Chris Driedger made 32 saves, and the Florida Panthers extended their season-long winning streak to six games with a 3-0 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at BB&T Center on Sunday.

The shutout was the second of the season for Driedger and his third in the NHL. He's allowed six goals in his past five starts.

"Honestly, I think our team is playing fantastic," Driedger said. "I try and just do the same stuff every game. It's been good. It's been a lot of fun. The guys have been locking it down defensively. It makes things real easy when we keep things to the outside."

Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist, and MacKenzie Weegar had two assists for the Panthers (26-9-4), who swept the back-to-back set and their four-game homestand. They are 5-0-1 against the Blue Jackets this season, including a 5-2 win Saturday.

Joonas Korpisalo made 32 saves for the Blue Jackets (14-18-8), who have lost three in a row and seven of eight (1-6-1). They have been shut out four times this season.

"These are the stretches in the season where you don't understand why [you are losing], and that's why it's so important to be consistent," Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. "It's frustrating [getting shut out], especially at this time of year when you know how important it is. You're not going to win unless you get some goals."

Barkov made it 1-0 at 1:52 of the second period when he one-timed Patric Hornqvist's short pass in the high slot.

Video: CBJ@FLA: Barkov blasts Hornvqist's one-timer through

Barkov had an assist Saturday in his return after missing six games with a lower-body injury.

"Actually, the first game I didn't feel that good," Barkov said. "Obviously, I was happy to be back. That's why I kind of got through the game. I didn't feel that good, but the team played well, so it was easy to come back. I felt a little better today, and playing with these linemates and this team, it makes it easier for me."

Frank Vatrano made it 2-0 at 8:00 of the third period with a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 after he stole the puck in the neutral zone.

Vatrano has scored in three straight games, with each goal in the third period. Ten of his 13 goals this season have come in the third period or overtime.

"I don't know, it's just the way that goals are falling for me right now," Vatrano said. "Tonight, we played a patient game. We didn't chase it. We stayed right with it for the full 60 minutes and got rewarded with it."

Video: CBJ@FLA: Vatrano rips wrist shot through off the rush

Gustav Forsling increased the lead to 3-0 at 12:20 with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle.

"Tonight, we were right in the game," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We gave them two free ones by turning the puck over and bang-bang it's 3-0. We're just not a team that's going to score five goals a game. We have to make sure, especially in the third period, that we are handling ourselves the right way, or it's tough to win a hockey game for us."

NOTES: Columbus forward Riley Nash left in the second period with a lower-body injury. There was no update after the game. … Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic played 12:47 and had two shots on goal after being a healthy scratch Saturday. … Columbus forward Mikhail Grigorenko, recalled from the taxi squad Sunday, played 12:57 and had one shot on goal in his first NHL game since Feb. 23. … Driedger's first shutout this season came in a 2-0 victory against the Nashville Predators on March 20. … Barkov's goal was his 116th at even strength, moving him past Olli Jokinen into second place in Panthers history. Jonathan Huberdeau is first with 123.

Video: Driedger makes 32 saves, Panthers blank Blue Jackets

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