The Florida Panthers closed the first period and second period with leads of 1-0 and 3-1 respectfully. In the third period, the strong Blue Jackets offense scored to make it a one-point game 8:01 into the period, but couldn’t keep the push going.
The Blue Jackets would let up an empty netter to Frank Vatrano to close it out and give the Panthers the 4-2 win.
Following a three-game losing streak that included consecutive losses to the Carolina Hurricanes and one to the Dallas Stars, the Panthers have won three of its last four. Florida improves its record to 15-4-3 while playing in at home.
This past week has featured a big change in scenery with the addition of several new players and a couple of farewells coming at the trade deadline via trade and signage. Monday’s match featured one of those newcomers, as forward Sam Bennett showed up with a goal in the second-period, followed by three hits, and sticking up for his teammates in a fight.
“He knows I appreciate that very much,” Anthony Duclair said about Bennett. “I know all the guys appreciate that. Obviously, it was huge to see. He’s a team-first guy… He’s a great teammate. We’re lucky to have him. That was a huge play for us.”
The Panthers look to sweep the Blue Jackets this season 6-0 with a win on Tuesday in Sunrise, FL.
Star of the Game: Frank Vatrano (2G, 1 BLK, 1 H)
Vatrano keeps showing his offensive prowess each and every game. In the first period, he put the Cats on the board with a top-shelf goal, and again at the end of the third with an empty netter. Vatrano is second on the team in goals, trailing only captain Aleksander Barkov. Of Vatrano’s 17 goals this season, 12 of those have come in the third period or overtime. Vatrano has shown up when the Panthers need him most.