The Florida Panthers opened their latest road trip with a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Florida has now lost nine of the last 11 games it has played, and has fallen quickly in the standings. The Panthers had boosted their playoff chances with a hot stretch, but now have almost fallen out of contention. At 30-28-11, Florida would need a big run and some help to sneak back into the playoff picture.
Jonathan Marchessault's 23rd goal of the season gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period. Thomas Vanek and Alex Petrovic assisted Marchessault on the goal at the 18:15 mark.
After that goal, the Panthers were unable to find the back of the net for the rest of the game. Florida did not help matters with some costly and avoidable penalties. The Panthers picked up a bench penalty during the third period for too many men on the ice. The mistake was a critical one as the Panthers tried to mount a late comeback.
James Reimer continued to serve as Florida's goalie and did a decent job in this one. Reimer has been forced into everyday action with Roberto Luongo sidelined and has struggled multiple times. In Thursday's loss, Reimer had 31 saves in 33 chances.
The Panthers will visit the Big Apple on Friday to take on the New York Rangers at 7:00 p.m.