Blue Jackets shut out Panthers 4-0 for 10th straight win
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots for his fifth shutout of the season, Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist, and the Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the Florida Panthers 4-0 on Thursday night for their 10th straight win.
Pierre-Luc Dubois had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 42-28-5 and joined Philadelphia (1984-86) and Pittsburgh (2010-13) as the only NHL franchises to record 10-game win streaks in consecutive seasons.
The shutout was the 24th of Bobrovsky's career and his seventh straight win. Sonny Milano, Seth Jones and Thomas Vanek — into an empty net — also scored for Columbus, which moved into a second-place tie in the Metropolitan Division with idle Pittsburgh, each with 89 points.
Florida dropped to 37-28-7. With 10 games left in the season, the Panthers remained a point behind the idle New Jersey Devils for a playoff spot.
After a scoreless first, Atkinson got Columbus on the board at 59 seconds of the second period, thanks to Artemi Panarin, who stole the puck just outside the blue line and provided a perfect feed. Atkinson beat Roberto Luongo with a one-timer low on the right side for his 18th goal of the season, while Panarin recorded his team-leading 44th assist.
The Blue Jackets made it 2-0 just 2:19 later, when Matt Calvert dug the puck out of the left corner and fed Milano for his 13th goal, a top-shelf sniper shot driving through the left circle. Pierre-Luc Dubois earned his 23rd assist and Calvert his 14th.
The Blue Jackets third goal came at 5:42 of the third period, 10 seconds after a center-ice scrum sent Florida's Frank Vatrano off on a double-minor for roughing and interference, and Columbus' Zach Werenski off for slashing. Jones, back after missing three games with an upper-body injury, scored his 15th of the season with a slap shot from just inside the blue line.
It was Jones' 50th point and sixth power-play goal of the season for a team-leading 19th point with a man advantage. Dubois recorded his ninth multipoint game. The goal ended Florida's streak of 24 straight penalty kills over 10 games.
Vanek's empty-netter at 17:35 of the third, his 21st goal of the season, made it 4-0.
NOTES: Columbus' David Savard played in his 400th NHL game. ... Defenseman Alexander Petrovic returned to Florida's lineup after missing three of the last four games with a lower-body injury. ... Jack Johnson and Brandon Dubinsky were both healthy scratches for Columbus. The Blue Jackets have not lost since March 2.
Panthers: host the Coyotes on Saturday.
Blue Jackets: host the Blues on Saturday.