Artemi Panarin turned out to be everything the Columbus Blue Jackets were looking for when they traded for him last summer: A dead-eye sniper and deft puck distributor who can get game-breaking goals and make everyone around him better.
And Antonio Morrison Jersey , the Blue Jackets hope, a guy who can get them deeper into the playoffs.
So far, so good. Columbus heads home to Nationwide Arena after taking a 2-0 lead over Washington in their first-round series on Sunday night, a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win in which Panarin contributed a pair of key assists.
That came three nights after Panarin won the series opener in overtime. With two assists already in regulation, he drove down the left side, slipped past Capitals defenseman Dimitry Orlov and snapped a shot over goalie Philipp Grubauer’s shoulder.
”There’s very few people who can make that shot,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said.
”He can make a play from nothing,” Orlov said. ”He’s so smooth.”
The Blue Jackets probably wouldn’t be playing in the postseason without the 26-year-old Russian they call the ”Bread Man.” He was a steady presence and consistent scorer through a bumpy season of slumps and injuries to other key players.
Panarin led Columbus with 27 goals and 55 assists, and his 82 points were the most in a single season in franchise history. His plus/minus of 23 and average of just over 20 minutes on the ice per game were career highs.
Panarin – sounds like Panera Bread, hence the hockey nickname of ”Bread Man” or just ”Bread” – has embraced being a featured star after playing in the large shadow of Patrick Kane in Chicago in his first two years in the league.
”In Chicago, I played with Kane and got a lot of assists from him,” Panarin said. ”But I always wanted something more Jonathan Allen Jersey , to put more of the game on myself and be more accountable for the result. Here, I got that, what I wanted.”
Panarin, who won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL in 2015-16, was acquired from the Black Hawks last June along with forward Tyler Motte for forward Brandon Saad and goalie Anton Forsberg. Saad was a reliable player for Columbus for two seasons.
”Bread is a different type player because he can make a special play to win a game,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. ”I just think for you to get through and find your way and try to be a better playoff team, you have to have some players that are dynamic. You’re not coaching it, they just see something, they seize a moment and they win you a game. Or they make a huge play to get you back in the game in another way.”
With the Blue Jackets on a power play and down 3-2 in the second period on Sunday, Panarin dribbled the puck and patiently waited for a lane to open up before delivering a pinpoint circle-to-circle pass to Cam Atkinson , who scored the tying goal.
Panarin’s line mates, veteran winger Atkinson and 19-year-old rookie center Pierre-Luc Dubois Art Monk Jersey , have benefited from his skills. Atkinson – who had two goals on Sunday – has come on strong after missing time with injuries, finishing the regular season with 14 goals and 14 assists in February and March. Dubois had 20 goals and 28 assists in the regular season, making him the most productive rookie in Blue Jackets history.
Panarin makes $6 million a year on a contract that runs through next season. He’ll be due a sizeable salary bump if the Blue Jackets decide to keep him around after that.
So far, he’s been an ideal fit.
”When they first traded me, of course for a couple days, I worried,” he said. ”But then I calmed down and understood that this is all good for me. I understood that here I would progress as a player first and foremost. What’s most important to me isn’t money, but the whole game.”
Associated Press Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington contributed to this report.
Record-setting wins don’t get much hollower than Florida’s victory Saturday night.
The Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention, even after Vincent Trocheck scored late in the third period to help hold off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 and set a franchise mark with 27 home victories.
Florida’s slim playoff hopes ended when Philadelphia beat the New York Rangers 5-0 earlier in the day. The Panthers took out their frustration on the Sabres, going ahead 3-0 in the first period.
The Panthers’ season ends in Boston on Sunday.
”We wanted to go in tomorrow and have a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs,” coach Bob Boughner said. ”It’s tough to have to rely on other teams. We know an hour before the game our playoff hopes were done. It was tough going into this game and getting the job done tonight.”
Jonathan Huberdeau scored a power-play goal for the Panthers. Colton Sceviour had a goal and an assist and Nick Bjugstad also scored.
”I think everybody in here is disappointed. The whole goal this year was to make the playoffs,” Trocheck said. ”Everybody coming into the game Henry Anderson Jersey , we were all preparing as if it was going to be a do-or-die game. Kind of went into it the same way we would have gone into it if we were in the playoffs.”
James Reimer made 38 saves in place of Roberto Luongo, who had played three games in four nights, including his 1,000th game Thursday. The Panthers also played without points leader Aleksander Barkov, who injured his shoulder late in the third period in Thursday’s game against the Bruins. Barkov will also miss Sunday’s finale.
Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo. Chad Johnson allowed three goals on 12 shots in the first period and was replaced to start the second with Adam Wilcox. Wilcox finished with 14 stops in his NHL debut.
”The guys did a good job battling for me,” Wilcox said. ”They knew it was my debut tonight. A lot of respect for them battling for me for two periods. I just wanted to give the guys a chance to get back in the game, and they did a good job of doing that.”
The Panthers were cruising but the Sabres mounted a final flurry, scoring two goals 21 seconds apart late in the third period to make it 3-2. Pominville scored on a wrist shot with 4:30 left, and Reinhart scored shortly after.
”Just to be blunt and honest, that was typically what our season was,” coach Phil Housley said. ”We couldn’t come out and start on time Tavon Austin Jersey , and then we get the urgency to push back and get back into a game and make a game of it.”
Trocheck’s empty-netter with 1:23 left made it score 4-2. O’Reilly’s power-play tally with 15.8 left closed the gap to 4-3.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead when Huberdeau deflected in a shot from Trocheck during a 5-on-3 power-play at 3:04 of the first. Sceviour made it 2-0 when he deflected a shot by Frank Vatrano at 10:59. Bjugstad then slid a puck under Johnson at 13:39.
NOTES: Retiring Panthers F Radim Vrbata played his last game. Vrbata played 1,057 career games, including 42 with the Panthers. ”I’m glad I got a chance to play and have my family here. My wife, my sons, they got to see me one more time.” … O’Reilly set the NHL record for faceoff wins in a single season with 1,269 – passing Rod Brind’Amour (1,268 FOW in 2005-06). ”It’s special. It’s something I take a lot of pride in,” O’Reilly said. … A moment of silence was observed before the game in memory of the lives lost in a traffic accident Friday night involving the Humboldt Broncos, a youth hockey team from Canada.
Sabres: Completed their season.
Panthers: Visit Boston Bruins on Sunday.
Deandre Ayton Jersey
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|