Blue Jackets Fall To Florida Panthers Again, Complete Pivotal Road Trip With Just One Win

By Ed Francis on April 4, 2021 at 7:39 pm
lorida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger (60) deflects the puck on a shot from Columbus Blue Jackets center Riley Nash (20) during the first period at BB&T Center.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


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Sunday afternoon was a tale of two teams going in vastly different directions.

Chris Driedger stopped all 32 shots from the Columbus Blue Jackets for his second shutout of the season and the surging Florida Panthers took over first place in the Central Division, defeating the struggling Blue Jackets 3-0.

The Blue Jackets complete their crucial six game road trip with just one win and two points. Scoring was a significant problem, as Columbus scored more than two goals only once, and mustered up just nine goals over the half-dozen games.

"Not the results you want on a six-game road trip," said Boone Jenner. "But we're just going to keep working."

Columbus made it nine consecutive first periods without a goal, extending their scoreless streak in the opening frame to over three hours. The Panthers were scoreless after one as well, but took a 1-0 lead early in the second period when Aleksander Barkov beat Joonas Korpisalo for his 14th goal of the season.

The game remained 1-0 into the third period, but the Panthers took a 2-0 lead at the eight minute mark when Frank Vatrano scored unassisted on a Columbus turnover. Gustav Forsling sunk any hope of a Columbus comeback with his third goal of the season, and the Panthers third goal of the game.

Columbus went 0-3 on the power play, extending their scoreless streak on the man-advantage to six games, and have just one power play goal over their last 12 games. They did stop Florida on the Panthers only power play attempt of the afternoon, and have killed 18 of their last 19.

The loss keeps Columbus in 7th place in the division and are just five points ahead of the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings in what could become a battle to stay out of the basement. The Blue Jackets are an equal number of points away from the final playoff spot, but have played more games than Nashville, Chicago, and Dallas, the three teams ahead of them in the standings. 

Injury Update

Riley Nash was injured in the second period and did not return. Emil Bemstrom remains on injured reserved. Gustav Nyquist is still sidelined following shoulder surgery, but is skating and traveling with the team.

Next Up

Columbus returns home for a pair of games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop at Nationwide Arena is 7:00 P.M. Tuesday.

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