Anderson, Bjorkstrand lead Blue Jackets past Panthers 7-3
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets finally got their power play rolling again.
Oliver Bjorkstrand had two goals, including the tiebreaker with the man advantage, and Josh Anderson also scored twice to lift the Blue Jackets over the Florida Panthers 7-3 on Thursday night.
Bjorkstrand’s power-play goal was the first on the road in 15 tries this season for Columbus, which entered 3 for 35 on the power play.
Boone Jenner added a power-play goal in the third, and Tyler Motte and Markus Hannikainen also scored for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves.
The seven goals were a season-high for Columbus, which won for the eighth time in 11 games.
Vincent Trocheck had a goal and two assists for the Panthers. Ian McCoshen and Mark Pysyk also scored.
James Reimer allowed four goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Antti Niemi at 10:46 of the second period. Niemi stopped 18 shots.
After Trocheck’s short-handed goal tied the score 3-all at 8:43 of the second, the Blue Jackets reclaimed the lead 28 seconds later on the power-play goal by Bjorkstrand when his shot went into the top of the net. Reimer was replaced by Niemi after that.
“They tied the game up on a shorty and we needed a goal,” Bjorkstrand said. “It was nice on the power play to get the puck in the net.”
From there, the Panthers didn’t score again and the Blue Jackets poured it on.
“We didn’t panic when they came back there,” Anderson said. “We just stepped on the gas a little bit and fired more pucks to the net and got a couple. Our power play’s been struggling. It was nice to get that one by Borky.”
The Panthers lost their third straight and have given up 15 goals in their past two games.
“We battle back, tie the game up, but it just seems that every time we get to that spot the lapse ends up in the back of our net,” coach Bob Boughner said. “Can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to get out of it together. It’s not happening.”
Reimer has given up nine goals on 38 shots and was pulled in each of the last two games.
“The stats don’t lie. He’s fighting it a little bit. We’re trying to tighten up and support as best we can,” Boughner said. “Again, we win as a team, we lose as a team. We’re not going to be finger-pointing at anybody.”
Bjorkstrand’s second goal, a shot from in front, beat Niemi and stretched the Blue Jackets’ lead to 5-3.
Motte made it 6-3 at 3:45 of the third. The goal was Motte’s second in two games since being recalled from Cleveland of the AHL on Monday.
Jenner’s power-play goal, a deflection of a shot by Artemi Panarin at 6:12 of the third, made it 7-3.
Columbus took a 3-2 lead on Hannikainen’s goal at 5:21 of the second. Hannikainen grabbed a loose puck in the slot and slid it between Reimer’s pads.
The Panthers tied the score 2-all 35 seconds into the second on McCoshen’s slap shot from the point.
Anderson’s second goal gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead on his wrist shot from the right circle that beat Reimer to the stick side with 3:33 left in the first period.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on the goal by Pysyk when he swept in a rebound off a shot by Trocheck at 4:57.
The Blue Jackets tied it on Anderson’s first goal. Brandon Dubinsky passed from the goal line to Anderson in front and he pushed the puck past Reimer with 8:28 left in the first.
NOTES: Blue Jackets RW Cam Atkinson missed the game with a lower-body injury. ... Panthers LW Connor Brickley missed his third game with an upper-body injury.
Blue Jackets: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Panthers: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday.
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