Patric Hornqvist scored with three seconds left in regulation and then got the deciding goal in a shootout, leading the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win over the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
The win gave Florida a 3-0-0 start for the first time in franchise history. The Panthers rallied from a 2-0, first-period deficit and also survived a penalty in overtime.
Hornqvist, with his team-high fourth goal of the season, whacked the puck out of the air and in to set up the dramatics in OT and in the shootout.
Kevin Stenlund, Alexandre Texier and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus, and Joonas Korpisalo made 28 saves. It was Texier’s team-high fourth goal of the season.
Carter Verhaeghe had a goal and an assist for Florida, Aleksander Barkov also scored, and Anthony Duclair had two assists. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky — a former Blue Jackets star — made 19 saves to beat his former team.
Florida hadn’t played since Jan. 19 due to postponements prompted by COVID-19 issues with its opponents. The Panthers are tied with the Dallas Stars for the fewest games played in the NHL.
The Blue Jackets are still awaiting the arrival of winger Patrik Laine and young center Jack Roslovic after acquiring then in a Saturday trade.
Columbus opened the scoring with just 2:11 expired in the first period. Mikko Koivu, on his first shift of the game, shoveled a backhand pass ahead to Stenlund, who carried the puck in and scored five-hole from the right circle. The puck deflected in off Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas, who dived in an attempt to break up the play.
The Jackets made it 2-0 with 9:17 gone in the first. Oliver Bjorkstrand shot a knuckler from the right circle, and Texier tipped it past a screened-off Bobrovsky.
Florida cut its deficit to 2-1 with 13:11 elapsed in the first. Duclair’s shot was wide left, hitting the back boards, but Verhaeghe retrieved the puck and fired it in off Korpisalo.
The Panthers tied the score with 3:53 gone in the second. Verhaeghe passed to a trailing Barkov, who scored after skating solo down the left side.
Just 63 seconds after Koivu was called for tripping Duclair early in the third period, Atkinson scored short-handed from the top of the right circle to give Columbus a 3-2 lead at 1:20. Atkinson, taking a long lead pass from Nick Foligno, fired a wrist shot that snuck in under Bobrovsky’s left arm.
–Field Level Media