Atkinson’s late goal sends Blue Jackets past Panthers 5-4
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame a shaky second period, scoring twice in the third and spoiling the home opener for the Florida Panthers.
Cam Atkinson’s goal with 2:46 left lifted the Blue Jackets to a 5-4 victory over the Panthers on Thursday night.
With traffic in front of the net, Atkinson swept the puck past goalie James Reimer, who was flat on his back during the play. The Panthers challenged for goalie interference, but the goal stood.
“I wanted to do whatever it takes to help this team win, and I did,” Atkinson said.
The Blue Jackets gave up three goals in the second period after being outshot 22-5.
“There is some great teaching opportunity for us here as we found a way to win this game,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said.
Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists for Columbus. Boone Jenner, Anthony Duclair and Zach Werenski also scored, and Joonas Korpisalo stopped 37 shots.
“It’s probably one of the better goaltending performances I’ve seen letting in four goals,” Tortorella said. “He gave us a chance throughout the night, fought hard. I thought he was our best player.”
The Blue Jackets have won five straight over the Panthers.
Evgenii Dadonov recorded a goal and two assists and Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Nick Bjugstad and Troy Brouwer also scored. Reimer made 27 saves for the Panthers.
“You score four goals at home, you should win,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.
Trailing 4-3, the Blue Jackets tied it on Jenner’s goal 1:45 into the third. Jenner shot from the boards on the left side and the puck trickled between Reimer’s pads.
The Panthers took a 4-3 lead when Bjugstad poked in the puck from in front with 8.3 seconds left in the second period.
Columbus tied it at 3 on a power-play goal by Duclair, whose wrist shot got inside the near post at 12:16 of the second. The goal was Duclair’s first with the Blue Jackets.
Trailing 2-1 in the second, Florida tied the score on Barkov’s goal. Dadonov passed from the right circle between the skates of a defender to Barkov on the left side. Barkov fired the puck past Korpisalo at 6:29.
“We scored a couple of goals, but we lost 5-4. It doesn’t matter. We need to learn how to win games,” Barkov said.
Brouwer’s tip-in of a shot by Mark Pysyk at 11:03 of the second gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
The Panthers outshot the Blue Jackets 15-0 midway through the second period.
The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead during a 5-on-3 power play with 6:31 left in the first period. Werenski’s one-timer from the high-slot beat Reimer on the glove side.
Panarin stretched the Columbus lead to 2-0 when he grabbed a loose puck inside the blue line, skated in and put the puck past Reimer with 2:40 left in the first.
The Panthers closed to 2-1 with 10.6 seconds left in the first. Barkov passed across to Dadonov in the right circle and his shot beat Korpisalo on the left side.
NOTES: The Panthers celebrated the 25th anniversary of their inaugural season by introducing members of the original 1993-94 team in a pre-game ceremony. . Panthers C Derek MacKenzie missed the game with an upper body injury. ... G Korpisalo made his second start in four games for the Blue Jackets.
Blue Jackets: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Panthers: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.