Ice Hockey
Panthers Kick off Road Trip With 5-2 Win over Blue Jackets
Panthers Kick off Road Trip With 5-2 Win over Blue Jackets
May 22, 2024 11:42 PM

Aleksander Barkov scored the game winner to cap off a three point day and Sam Reinhart had four assists as the Florida Panthers began their five game road trip with a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Anthony Stolarz made 17 saves in his fourth win of the season (4-2-1). The Panthers improved to 17-8-2 with their third straight victory.

“I thought he was really really good,” coach Paul Maurice said of Stolarz. “Those games are tougher, especially for backup guys because they get in and don’t get a lot of work… that five minute block at the start of the third period is where he did his part to help us win the game.”

Gustav Forsling, Carter Verhaeghe, Matthew Tkachuk and Eetu Luostarinen also scored for the Panthers.

“We wanted to have a good start on this road trip,” Forsling said. “ I think we really played the right way here.”

The first two periods on Sunday afternoon were clean on the penalty front. Neither team went to the box and the chippiness going into the third was at a standstill.

However, the pleasantries between the two sides wouldn’t last long after the intermission. Just 24 seconds into the third, Panthers forward Nick Cousins hit Blue Jackets’ defenseman Erik Gudbranson behind the Columbus goal into the dasher.

Gudbranson went into the boards hard and didn’t take lightly to the hit — going after Cousins following the play. Cousins was initially assessed a five minute major for the hit. After review, the call was downgraded to a minor for boarding.

A few minutes after the first hit, Gudbranson grabbed Cousins during the play, throwing him down to the ice and unleashing a series of punches at the Panthers’ forward.

Gudbranson would be ejected from the game, while the Panthers went to an extremely rare seven-minute power play.

Florida struggled on the extended power play, not finding the back of the net for the first 6:23 of the man advantage. As the power play was winding down, Aleksander Barkov finally cashed in, putting the Panthers up 3-1.

“When you get a seven minute power play, you want the action down at their end,” Stolarz said. “The guys did a great job of killing off time, getting some good opportunities and we finally buried one late there.”

While Sam Reinhart didn’t light the lamp on Sunday afternoon, his four assist performance did the job and pushed him even higher up on the Panthers scoring lead. He has 37 points in 27 games.

“He’s so detailed with everything he does. He makes awesome passes and he can score,” Carter Verhaghe said of Reinhart. “He’s a complete player, one of the best players on our team. You see it night in and night out.”

Columbus was able to make it a one-goal game with 3:49 remaining, however, a pair of empty net goals from Matthew Tkachuk and Eetu Luostarinen iced away the game for the Panthers.

Florida will continue the road trip in Seattle on Tuesday night, heading over to the west coast to take on the Kraken.

Panthers Notes

Carter Verhaeghe got his 200th career point

Matthew Tkachuk scored his fifth goal of the season

Gustav Forsling had his first multi-point game of the season

Previous Article:Panthers offense struggles in Seattle, lose 4-0 to Kraken Next Article:Takeaways from Panthers 3-1 win over Penguins
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