4:43 into the third period, things seemed just about done between the Florida Panthers and Columbus. The Blue Jackets, two days removed from their loss to the Panthers, led 4-1 with a chance to split the series.
But after Columbus messed with Sergei Bobrovsky, knocking him down, things changed. The ‘Cats went on a 3-0 run following goals from Ryan Lomberg, Owen Tippet, and Aleksander Barkov, respectfully, tying the game up with 4:34 left in the third period.
In overtime, the Blue Jackets gave the Cats a run for their money on the first shift, but after that, it was all the Panthers on the attack. Following three opportunities, Jonathan Huberdeau and Frank Vatrano had a two-on-one rush and Vatrano put Huberdeau’s rebound in the net to walk it off.
“I would’ve lost some sleep if I didn’t bury that second one there,” Vatrano said. “Great play all the way around. Ekkie made a great play up, and Huby was shooting for a purpose of the pad there.”
Owen Tippet on the Panthers going 4-1 in the past five games: “It makes the trip home a lot more fun. When you go on road trips like this, it’s a chance to come together as a group. When you take four out of five, it makes it that much better.”
Star of the Game: Ryan Lomberg (1G)
Fourteen Panthers players had a point in Thursday’s game. Although the game-winner came from Vatrano, it was the rook who got the team going. Down 4-1, Lomberg got his team fired up on the ice and on the bench after his first career goal. This goal was the spark needed to ignite the team, and it provided the Panthers with the momentum to score two more goals within 7:53.