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Panthers Wrap-Up: Blue Jackets 4, Panthers 1

Blue Jackets score early, throughout as Panthers can't gain ground on Capitals.

Friday, 03.30.2012 / 10:50 PM ET / Wrap Up
By Glenn Odebralski  -
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Panthers Wrap-Up: Blue Jackets 4, Panthers 1
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 0 1 0 1
Blue Jackets 1 1 2 0 4
FLA - T. Kopecky (9)
CBJ - R. Umberger (16), PP - N. Nikitin (6), N. Nikitin (7), EN - R. Umberger (17)
COLUMBUS (AP) - Defenseman Nikita Nikitin scored twice and had an assist, R.J. Umberger also had two goals, and Allen York made 30 saves in the Columbus Blue Jackets' 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Umberger scored in the first and added an empty-netter with 47 seconds to play..

"You got to trust each other and play. You can't play scared. Nobody's a good player playing that way. We got four games left to pour it on. Everybody knows what's at stake."

- Defenseman Brian Campbell.
1. No Power Here: After finding the back of the net on two of their five powerplays Thursday night in Minnesota, the Panthers had a golden opportunity with three power plays in the first period alone. That included a huge 5-on-3 power play for almost a full two minutes. After RJ Umberger scored 3:41 into the game on a two-on-one rush, Florida racked up 4:20 of power play time. After coming up short on their first opportunity of the night, the Panthers had a two man advantage for 1:40 after Cam Atkinson and Jack Johnson went off twenty seconds apart with Atkinson leading the way 10:53 into the period. Despite some good opportunities and a total of nine shots, Florida couldn't solve Jackets netminder Allen York. Playing in just his ninth NHL game of his career, the netminder looked comfortable despite the heat from the Panthers.

2. Flipping The Script: After getting the power play chances in the first period, it was the Panthers that gave the Blue Jackets their opportunities in the second. In a penalty filled second period, Florida gave Columbus four power play chances and killed off 6:30 of time. Unfortunately one of those chances gave the Blue Jackets a two goal advantage as Nikita Nikitin scored 30 seconds into a too many men on the ice penalty 11:48 into the period. The Panthers, in fact, had two too many men on the ice calls in a span of four minute span. Trying to kill off penalties, the Panthers weren't allowed to attack like they did in the first but they did post 10 shots on net in the period.

3. Not Taking Advantage: This is a tough one. Entering the game, Florida had a 33 point advantage in the standings as Columbus had a league low 57 points on the season. The Blue Jackets came out hard early and often however and put the visitors on their heals for portions of the game. The Jackets increased their lead to three goals as Nikitin scored his second of the night right off a face-off X into the third. Tomas Kopecky got the Cats on the board to give them some hope but Umberger salted away the victory with an empty netter. Florida had a chance to put six points between them and the Washington Capitals as this was their game in hand but just couldn't answer the Blue Jackets.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@todderickearl: I love the panthers as much as everyone but for the god man up! I see red please get to the playoffs! #FlaPanthers

@JagsFan93: This better be the worst it gets, but I have a bad feeling that I'm wrong. Please let me not be wrong. #FlaPanthers

@FloridaShawn: Good luck in Motown #FlaPanthers. You are playing your worst hockey at the worst time.

@parrothead34: We are just playing this bad to keep it interesting, right? Um, right? #FlaPanthers

@Ritter_Matt: So close to the playoffs and the #flapanthers just can't close the deal. Losing way too many games they should be winning.

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Dave Friedlander: Panthers and Caps have 4 games left. Caps need 2 wins just to tie us in points. We needed big wins and played the worst teams, and came out losing. How did we go 5-0 to losing ??? If the team that showed up tonight shows up in Detroit,it's going to be embarrassing.

Daniel Monsignore: The problem is when u play back to back and not having alot of energy tht shouldnt happen since we have not been to the playoffs in ten years. And ps u cant have back to back bench minors awful

Joseph Sensback: Unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE.

Gregory Cordero: The jackets just no doubt wanted this game more than the panthers.. time to prepare for the redwings!

Jacob Price: I'm really hoping we can turn it around Sunday. If this game wasn't a must win then that one will be a must must win


2. Columbus got two goals each from R.J Umberger and Nikita Nikitin in their 4-1 victory. It was Nikitin's first multi-goal game of his career.

9. The Panthers had a large advantage in shots in the opening period, outshooting Columbus 15-6. A majority of that game off of three power play attempts as they put nine shots on Allen York.

14. The Panthers finished up their 14th back-to-back situation of the season in playing Minnesota and Columbus in consecutive nights. Florida was 5-7-2 in the second game of the back-to-back situation.

26. Notching an assist on Tomas Kopecky's third period goal, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov tied his career high in points with 26. Playing in his 54th game of the year, the defenseman tied for the team lead in shots with forward Kris Versteeg with five on the game..

100. Florida had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the first period as they had a 5-on-3 power play advantage for 1:40 after Cam Atkinson and Jack Johnson took penalties 20 seconds apart. Columbus kept them off the board.

Nikita Nikitin
Was an offensive force from the blue line, giving the Jackets a two (power play) and three goal advantage. His first of the night stood as the winner.

 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 2 Shots, +2, 24:18 TOI
The Panthers conclude their four-game road trip with a Sunday matinee game (4pm start) in Detroit. Florida hasn't had much luck against the Wings in franchise history, going 4-11-5-2 in 22 games, including a 2-5-3 record at Joe Louis Arena but they did win in their last outing on November 20, 2009. Detroit, which has already clinched a playoff spot, is in a dog fight for home ice advantage with Nashville for the first round. The teams actually faced off on Friday night with the Preds taking home a 4-1 win to make it a one point advantage in the race (98-97). The Wings are led offensively by Henrik Zetterberg (68 points in 78 games), Valtteri Filppula (64 points in 77 games) and Pavel Datsyuk (64 points in 66 games). In goal, Jimmy Howard has seen the most of the action, posting a 33-16-3 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.16 goals against average.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
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