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Powered Up: Florida Panthers Score Key Goal, Win in Columbus



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Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov celebrates his power play goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday afternoon. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nationwide Arena had a power surge on Sunday afternoon, knocking out the scoreboard and some of the lights right in the middle of what ended up being a 5-2 win for the Florida Panthers over the Blue Jackets.

The scoreboard went down not long after Florida scored the key goal — a Sasha Barkov cleanup deal in the final seconds of a 7-minute power play.

“We needed the power play goal,’’ coach Paul Maurice said, “because you ran 10 guys for seven minutes. So there’s a concern. (Columbus) played hard but I thought we had the better of the offense. It was a bit of a grinder. Both teams had trouble finishing on the chances they had because the goalies made good saves. It was a road game for us. We were consistent.”

Although Columbus got its deficit back to 1 with the 6-on-5 with 3:49 remaining, the Panthers took advantage of that empty net with Matthew Tkachuk and Eetu Luostarinen both making deposits.

The Columbus crowd filed out into the darkness after the puck turned off Tkachuk’s desperation heave from the opposite faceoff circles and went straight down Broadway.

“We going to do this by candlelight?” Maurice joked as he was led down a dark corridor to do his postgame presser.

The game was halted for a moment after the scoreboard went down, the only thing it really caused was a little inconvenience for the equipment guys on both sides and the lightning techs from Ballys.

Florida, meanwhile, simply packed up and moved down the road.

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“It’s awesome whenever you can get wins on the road,’’ Carter Verhaeghe said.

Sunday’s win kicked off the longest road trip of the season for Florida as they are not home again until St. Louis visits on Dec. 21.

Florida will visit Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary before coming back.

Getting a win in the first one is a good feeling.

“It was huge for the morale,” said Anthony Stolarz, who made 17 saves in the win. “It is a long cross-country flight so it will be a happy one. We are going to out there and try and win as many as we can. When you go out and win the first one, you want to take the momentum and move forward.’’

The game on Sunday got off to a quick start.

First, Gus Forsling scored just over a minute into the contest to give the Panthers the very early lead.

Only Columbus tied things up at 7:06 of the first when Yegor Chinakhov got his sixth of the season.

This game would not be tied long.

A mere 22 seconds later, Verhaeghe batted down a high shot from Sam Reinhart to give the Panthers the lead right back.

It would stay 2-1 for quite some time.

Florida did not add on to its lead until there was 6:47 remaining in the game when Barkov knocked in the loose puck in the closing seconds of the Gudbranson penalty.

Gudbranson, meanwhile, has a hearing with the NHL over his actions meaning a  suspension could be forthcoming.

Regardless, the Jackets pulled goalie Jet Greaves and ended up pulling back within two — but empty-net goals ended any hope of Columbus pulling out of its funk.



  • When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.
  • Where: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WAXY 790-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • This Season (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 3, Kraken 2 (Oct.28). At Seattle: Tuesday.
  • Last Season: Tied 1-1
  • All-Time Regular Season Series: Seattle leads 3-2-0
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Vancouver, 10

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