The Blue Jackets and Panthers are two teams heading in very different directions.
One team has exciting young players, a talented captain, and a solid veteran core which has propelled them to one of the best records in the NHL. The other team is fielding a makeshift roster with AHL-caliber players and close to zero offensive talent.
So, it should be no surprise what happened tonight, as the Panthers rolled the Blue Jackets by a final score of 5-1. The Panthers started quickly in the first period, as Aleksander Barkov got on the board at 6:52. Then, just 14 seconds later, Sam Bennett made it 2-0 after some nice work by Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Huberdeau, which would be a theme.
Jack Roslovic got one back for the Blue Jackets on the power play, but that was as close as they would get tonight.
After 20 minutes, it was 2-1, Panthers. And boy, did they come out on fire for the middle period. Bennett, Ryan Lomberg, and Duclair all notched goals in the second to build a 5-1 lead for Florida, as the Blue Jackets struggled to keep the puck out of their own end and net.
The third period, thankfully, saw no more scoring for the Panthers. Joonas Korpisalo finished out the game, saving 27 of 32 shots. Spencer Knight, making his NHL debut with the Panthers, stopped 33 of 34 shots he faced.
The Blue Jackets will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning on Thursday night, with puck drop slated for 7:00 P.M. ET.