FLA - B. Boyes (15) CJG - B. Jenner (9), R. Johansen (22), N. Foligno (13), M. Letestu (8)
COLUMBUS — (NHL.com) - The line of Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen combined for the first two goals, and the Columbus Blue Jackets got 36 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky to defeat the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Saturday.
Goals by Jenner and Johansen staked Columbus (28-23-4) to a 2-0 lead in the first period with Horton getting assists on each. Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots over the final two periods and is 11-2-0 in his past 13 games.
"The guys came out really hard. We had some great opportunities. Some of those chances didn't go in obviously. I thought that our chances were better and we didn't capitalize on our chances…When you're playing from behind, trying to play catch up hockey is difficult."
- Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek on the Panthers' second period.
1. Columbus Top Line: It was a pretty even first period with chances for both side. Florida's best chances came on the power play with four shots on goal on the man advantage but the Blue Jackets killed off the penalty, took the momentum and got on the board thanks to the top line of Boone Jenner, Ryan Johansen and former Panther Nathan Horton. Jenner tucked the puck into the wide open net on the rush with 4:27 to play in the first. The trio struck again for a 2-0 Columbus advantage less than three minutes later, this time with Jenner returning the favor to set up Johansen for a wide open net.
2. Boyes In The Good: The Panthers came out with guns a blazing in the second period posting shot after shot on netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. They were able to find one past the Columbus netminder to make it a 2-1 game with 7:41 gone in the second. There, Brad Boyes drove to the net and with Nick Bjugstad also crashing, the puck went off the Blue Jackets defenseman to make it a one goal game. Boyes has been excellent all season, netting his team-leading 15th of the season and stretching his point streak to four games (3-1-4).
3. Bob's Your Name: Unfortunately Boyes' goal was all that the reigning Vezina trophy winner would allow as the Bobrovsky kept Florida's attack silenced despite excellent chances throughout the whole game. Nick Foligno scored late in the second for a 3-1 lead and M Letestu added to it in the third but Bobrovsky was the story as the Russian netminder heading to Sochi for the Olympics in a couple of weeks made big stops on Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjgustad, Scottie Upshall and the rest of the Cats to end the Panthers four-game road trip unable to pick up book-end wins. Florida outshot Columbus 37-30 in the contest but Bobrovsky was the difference maker.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.
@Winklahh_: @FlaPanthers I hate you for making me love you so much
@RKukowinski: @FlaPanthers better luck next time boys! I BELIEVE!
Memorable fan posts from the game.
Babygirlsweet LS: that's ok cats
Evonne Estep: At least we have Boyes.
Chris Madio: I don't even know anymore
4. Forward Brad Boyes got the Cats on the board in the second period with his 15th of the season. His latest goal stretched his point streak to four games (3-1-4).
4. Usually led by the blueliners in the hit department on a nightly basis it was center Marcel Goc leading the way in hits against Columbus with four.
6. The Panthers finished with 31 shots on net. Forward Scottie Upshall led the way with six of them.
15. Florida put a lot of pressure on the Blue Jackets in the second period, posting 15 shots on Sergei Bobrovsky in the second 20 minutes.
16. Rookie center Aleksander Barkov returned to the lineup after missing the last four games with a lower body injury. The Flying Finn finished with 17:50 TOI in his return.
Easily the best player on the ice, making save after save, especially with Florida pressing in the second and third periods.
The Panthers return home for two final home games against Atlantic Division rivals before the Olympic break, first hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Florida will look to avenge a 6-3 loss to the Leafs on Thursday night and take a 2-1 lead in the season series after earning a 3-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre in December. The Leafs earned a 6-3 victory over the Senators Saturday night to run their record to 30-21-6. USA Olympian Phil Kessel who has 60 points (30-30-60) in 57 games after netting a hat trick against Ottawa. Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernier has posted a 20-15-5 with a .926 save percentage and 2.61 GAA between the pipes.