Blue Jackets Squander 4-1 Third Period Lead; Florida Defeats Columbus In Overtime

By Ed Francis on March 11, 2021 at 9:44 pm
A rough night at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

It's just not meant to be, sometimes.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice, Patrik Laine broke his scoreless drought (before he was benched), and Max Domi picked up a goal for the first time in ten games.

It wasn't enough.

With a 4-1 lead in the third period, the Florida Panthers would score three unanswered goals and made it four in a row in overtime to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4.

  1 2 3 OT F
PANTHERS 0 1 3 1 5
BLUE JACKETS 0 2 2 0 4

After a scoreless first, Bjorkstrand got the scoring started for the Blue Jackets at the six minute mark. After a beautiful pass from Domi, Bjorkstrand beat Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on the glove side to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead. 

Just over four minutes later, Bjorkstrand would pick up his second of the night - and 10th of the season - to give the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead. This time, the good look came from Riley Nash.

The two-goal lead wouldn't last long, as Patric Hornqvist would score with just over three minutes left in the second to cut the lead in half heading into the third period. 

Columbus would regain the two-goal lead at the 3:23 mark of the 3rd period when Laine ended his seven game goalless streak, and they'd make it a three goal lead just over a minute later when Max Domi scored his 4th of the season. 

Less than two minutes later, the 4-1 Blue Jackets lead became 4-2 when Florida's Ryan Lomberg scored his first career goal. Florida's Owen Tippett then scored to make it 4-3, and Aleksander Barkov scored on the power play to tie the game at 4-4. 

A listless overtime ended just 1:23 into the period when the Panthers' Frank Vatrano beat Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins for the 5-4 Florida win. Notably absent from the ice in overtime, as well as in the final minutes of the third, was Laine.

"I thought I was playing good, but I guess I thought wrong," said Laine, when asked about the apparent benching. Laine finished the game with 14:43 in ice time.

Injury Update

Vladislav Gavrikov wasn't injured, but did miss tonight's game due to the birth of his daughter. Congratulations to he and wife, Anastasia. Dean Kukan drew into the lineup in his place, while Elvis Merzlikins made his first start since an upper body injury sidelined him last month.

Next Up

The Blue Jackets continue their homestand with a Saturday afternoon tilt against the Dallas Stars; it's a 5 p.m. start at Nationwide Arena in the first of a back-to-back set.