Blue Jackets rout Panthers
COLUMBUS (AP) — With a top forward and their starting goaltender out sick, the Columbus Blue Jackets limped into the first intermission down two goals to the streaking Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Then goalie Joonas Korpisalo found his rhythm, five Columbus players had a goal and an assist and the Blue Jackets rallied for a 7-3 rout that snapped Florida’s five-game winning streak.
“We’re never out of the fight, whether we’re down by two goals, three goals,” said forward Cam Atkinson, among the players with a two-point night. “We’re a team that’s a resilient group, and we can crawl back into it. And sure enough, once we got one, the flood gates opened up for us.”
Korpisalo, starting in place of Sergei Bobrovsky, stopped 38 shots. Along with Bobrovsky, forwards Artemi Panarin and Riley Nash were sidelined with an unspecified illness.
Markus Hannikainen broke a 3-3 tie for Columbus early in the third when he spun around and swept the puck past goalie Roberto Luongo from the edge of the blue paint. Anthony Duclair and Josh Anderson followed with breakaway scores, and Boone Jenner added an empty-netter to seal it.
Columbus picked up a point in its sixth straight game (4-0-2) and is in first place in the Metropolitan Division. Its goals came from seven players.
“Good first period then we let off the gas,” said Florida forward Mike Hoffman, who broke a franchise record with a point in his 14th straight game, a primary assist on a first-period goal by Aaron Ekblad . “They came back in the second and got a couple on us, and we were never able to recover from that point. They kept pace in the third period and really sealed the deal.”
Duclair, Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky and Pierre Luc-Dubois also had a goal and assist each for Columbus (11-6-2).
Luongo had 30 saves, and Nick Bjugstad and Keith Yandle also scored for the Panthers (7-6-3).
Bjugstad got credit for the opening goal 1:44 into the game when he deflected in a long shot from the left point by Mike Matheson. Ekblad tapped in the second goal five minutes later on a power play.
Atkinson made it 2-1 with a short-handed goal 28 seconds into the period , taking a pass from Alexander Wennberg on a rush after a Florida turnover. Dubinsky evened the score a few minutes later when batted a shot between Luongo’s pads.
Dubois gave Columbus the lead after Luongo ventured out of the crease to block a breakaway shot by Duclair. Dubois swooped in and knocked the puck in the net before the goalie could recover.
Yandle tied the game again later in the second on a power play when he went between Korpisalo’s pads with a shot from the high slot before Columbus cracked it open in the third.
“We had a lot of guys that just had off games,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “I’m going to chalk it up to that. I’m not going to spend a lot of time dissecting this game.”
NOTES: Columbus coach John Tortorella also was feeling sick and didn’t take questions from the reporters after the game. … Dubois has seven goals and four assists in his past 10 games. … Florida has scored at least one power-play goal in each of its last seven games. … F Zac Dalpe and G Jean-Francois Berube were called up from the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Cleveland because of Panarin and Bobrovsky being sidelined by illness. F Riley Nash also was out with an illness … Columbus also this week sent D Adam Clendening down to Cleveland and brought up D Gabriel Carlsson.
Columbus: At Carolina on Saturday.
Florida: At New York Rangers on Saturday.