The Columbus Blue Jackets would fall to the Florida Panthers, 4-3 in the shootout. It was a weird game that never seemed to be going in the Blue Jackets favor despite an early lead.
Here are three things about the loss against the Panthers:
The Blue Jackets in the first period looked like a team poised to run away with the game early on. They jumped out two a 2-0 lead but shortly after, the Panthers would pump in shot after shot on the Blue Jackets making it an awfully confusing first period.
Frankly, besides the goals, the play by goaltender Joonas Korpisalo needs to be lauded and praised. They had multiple grade-A chances and they weren't able to level the score until the second period.
While the process was nowhere near it needs to be, the Blue Jackets scoring goals in the first place is a welcome sight. Baby steps for the Blue Jackets offense.
After being on the Covid-19 absence list for a while, forward Mikko Koivu finally saw the ice. It didn't take him long to make his impact be felt. He had the primary assist on the Blue Jackets' first goal. It was a smooth play off the boards to Kevin Stenlund that would get the team out to an early lead.
Koivu comes into the lineup at an interesting time where the team needs to make some interesting decisions about who is making the lineup on a night in and night out basis. They need to still add Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine to it.
Koivu finished with just under 14 minutes of ice time and staked his claim to a spot in the lineup. He even saw an attempt in the shootout. With Stenlund, Eric Robinson, Riley Nash, and Koivu all fighting for spots John Tortorella is going to need to make tough decisions to optimize his team.
Third Period Magic Giveth and Taketh
However you slice this game, the Blue Jackets really didn't deserve to win this game. Good teams though find ways to win even in situations such as this. They were getting speedboated for a large portion of the game.
They did get a shorthanded goal in the third that looked like it may be the difference in the game. Cam Atkinson who has had a middling season so far shot the puck with confidence and got it past Bobrovsky. With under three seconds left in the third, Patric Hornqvist would score and he would do so again in the shootout to put the nail in the Blue Jackets coffin.
They were lucky to get a point but they also had an opportunity to get another one if they would have held the Panthers scoreless for just two more seconds.
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