Published: Friday, November 23, 2007
Florida Panthers roll past the Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets have only one win in their last eight games.
COLUMBUS (AP) The Florida Panthers had a simple and clear game plan: Crash the net.
Rostislav Olesz had two goals and an assist, and the Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 Wednesday night for their third win in four following a four-game skid.
"We talked about it before the game and during the break, to try and get more traffic," said Olesz, who played his second straight game after missing 14 with a wrist injury.
Ruslan Salei, Bryan Allen and Jay Bouwmeester had goals for Florida, which scored three times on the power play and broke the game open in the final period. Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton each had two assists.
Curtis Glencross and Rick Nash scored for Columbus, which entered as the NHL's third-best, penalty-killing team. The Blue Jackets have only one win in eight games.
Nash's goal at 19:59 of the second period made it 2-2 but didn't fluster the Panthers.
"We were mad to give up a goal with a second left in the period," said Tomas Vokoun, who made 34 saves. "You have to stay positive. Let the frustration out, and it's not over. That was the beauty of the situation. We were tied going into the third."
The former Nashville netminder has won his last seven starts against Columbus and is 19-6-1 against the Blue Jackets.
The Panthers scored three times in a 3:16 span midway through the final period.
"Those two power plays we got there was a big opportunity for us to at least get a lead," Weiss said. "To get two quick goals like that was huge. The third one for a little insurance was nice, as well."
Olesz flipped a backhander from near the crease past goalie Pascal Leclaire at 10:53 on the power play for his third.
"We scored lots of goals from there, a screen and a rebound," Olesz said.
On another man advantage, Bouwmeester took a pass from Richard Zednik at the goal line and scored with a snap shot from the low slot to make it 4-2 at 13:01.
"I thought we were really loose in our own end," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Olesz scored again a minute later to make it 5-2.
"It's no secret, there's not many pretty goals in this league," Vokoun said. "We went in front of the net and paid a price."
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.