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March Madness: Florida Panthers 8, Columbus Blue Jackets 4

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Florida Panthers — including Sam Reinhart (13), Lucas Carlsson and Anton Lundell — celebrate Mason Marchment’s opening goal Monday night. Marchment scored two goals and ended with six points which tied Olli Jokinen’s franchise record for a single game. — AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

COLUMBUS — The Panthers had their offense cranked up to 11 the last time they played the Blue Jackets but even as Florida got things humming again, Columbus at least put up a fight.

For a little while, anyway.

The Panthers, who put up nine against the Blue Jackets back on Jan. 15, had five before the midway point Monday and rolled out of town with an 8-4 win at Nationwide Arena.

Sam Reinhart got his fifth career hat trick — and did so just 4:27 into the second period.

Reinhart, who got three ballcaps thrown onto the ice for him to take on his journeys, was not the only member of that third line to rack up the points.

Not even close.

Mason Marchment had a career evening, scoring in the first and third periods and assisting on four others for the first six-point night of his career.

Those six points tied the franchise record set by Olli Jokinen back in 2007.

It’s not often that a player with a hat trick does not get first star — but Marchment took it away from Reinhart.

And, not to be out done, rookie Anton Lundell will start getting serious Calder Trophy traction if he keeps this up as he ended with his first five-point night.

Lundell did not have a goal — but he, too, tied a franchise record becoming the first with five assists in a game since Sasha Barkov did it two years ago against Minnesota.

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The high-flying Panthers — who, according to Sportnet.ca research scored more goals in the month of January (74) than any other team has in a single month in the past 25 years — got off to a terrific start.

Florida got off to a terrific start, opening up to a 2-0 lead when Lundell picked off a pass deep in the zone and fed it to Marchment just 32 seconds in.

Three minutes later, Reinhart got his first of the night to make it 2-0.

As was the case for much of the night, the Blue Jackets stayed in it.

Florida was able to make it 3-1 and then 4-1 toward the end of the first period — Jonathan Huberdeau from Barkov and Reinhart’s second — before Patrik Laine got his first of two in the final seconds of the period.

Reinhart got No. 3 early in the third to give the Panthers a 5-2 lead only the Jackets got one from Max Domi and another from Laine — again, off a turnover — to make it 5-4.

Nationwide Arena was finally buzzing again.

The Jackets’ comeback would be shortlived.

Florida got a pair of goals from Owen Tippett and MacKenzie Weegar within a span of 17 seconds late in the period to give the Panthers a 7-4 lead going into the final intermission.

Marchment getting his second of the night 27 seconds into the third — Joonas Korpisalo mercifully had replaced Elvis Merzlikins — just about ended this one.

Sergei Bobrovsky, for what it’s worth, ended the night with 32 saves as he won his seventh consecutive game against his former teammates.

The Panthers have now won their past eight against Columbus dating to last season.

GR’S THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT

1. Mason Marchment, Florida

2. Sam Reinhart, Florida

3. Anton Lundell, Florida

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