Patric Hornqvist scored the tying goal with 3 seconds left in regulation and had the game winner in a shootout as the Florida Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Hornqvist beat Joonas Korpisalo in the fifth round of the shootout to end it after Columbus' Mikhail Grigorenko's try went into the pads of Panthers' stopper Sergei Bobrovsky.
Hornqvist, the 14-year NHL veteran who joined the Panthers after six seasons with Pittsburgh, had tapped in the tiebreaker from the doorstep late during a 6-on-5 scramble after the Panthers had played from behind for most of the third period.
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The Panthers stayed unbeaten in their third game of the season after having two series canceled because of COVID-19 issues with the other teams.
“Our start has been really good,” said Hornqvist, who has four goals and an assist. “We won the first two home games with the little ups and downs, and then today we play our best hockey so far. We were down the whole game and we find a way to win. So just keep going, keep coming to the rink happy and try to get better.”
Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov also scored in regulation, and Bobrovsky, the former Blue Jacket, stopped 19 shots for Florida.
Kevin Stenlund, Alexandre Texier and Cam Atkinson scored, and Joonas Korpisalo — formerly Bobrovsky's backup — had 28 saves.
The Panthers won for just the second time in their last 11 games against Columbus. They hadn’t prevailed at Nationwide Arena since 2007.
“From start to finish we deserved that win tonight,” Florida coach Joel Quenneville said. “We did a lot of great things. I liked our pace; I liked their purpose.”
The Blue Jackets weren't sharp offensively in the first two periods, but scored on their first two shots on goal. They had just one more shot in the entire first period, and six in the second but managed to stay in the game and go ahead early in the third on a short-handed breakaway goal by Atkinson.
“Good teams find a way to win, even when you’re not playing your best,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. “We had a chance to win it tonight and we didn’t. That’s what’s disappointing.”
Columbus coach John Tortorella put it this way: “(We'll) take the point and sprint out of the building.”
NEW FACES IN COLUMBUS
A blockbuster trade for Columbus last weekend sent unhappy Pierre Luc-Dubois to Winnipeg for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. Laine is still trying to get visa issues worked out, and Roslovic is taking more time to get into game shape. He could be in the lineup Thursday. Koivu, a center who signed a one-year contract with Columbus after 15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, played for the first time after coming off the COVID list. He missed a shot in the shootout.
SQUEEZE THEM IN
Because of COVID postponements of series against Dallas and Carolina, the Panthers will have to play 53 games in the next 101 days.
NO POWER PLAY
The Blue Jackets were 0 for 6 on the power play, and Foligno was tired of talking about the team's inability to capitalize on the man-advantage. They were just 1 for 13 in the first six games.
“That’s on the group to get it done," he said. "We have to come together as a group and know the answer is in there. There’s enough skill on that power play to score goals.”
The teams play again Thursday night at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets play five of the next seven games at home. The Panthers have three more on the road before heading back to South Florida.
Follow Mitch Stacy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mitchstacy
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