COLUMBUS (AP) — Alexandre Texier slickly beat Chris Driedger five-hole in the fourth round of a shootout to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night.
Texier skated slowly in on Chris Driedger and poked the puck between his pads with the back of his stick. Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins sealed it by denying Patric Hornqvist, who scored the winning goal in a shootout between the teams Tuesday night.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Joining In The Fight Against Global Pandemic
“I mean, it’s like gambling,” said Merzlikins, who improved to 2-1-1. “Either you’re lucky or you’re not, so tonight luck was on my side, so I’m happy about that. I like (shootouts) when I win. When I lose, I hate them.”
Besides getting the shootout winner, Texier has started strong with four goals and two assists in the first eight games.
“Probably our most consistent guy,” coach John Tortorella said. “He turns one over and it costs us a goal (in the second period). I’m glad he got an opportunity to redeem himself. It was a great goal (in the shootout).”
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Florida’s Eetu Luostarinen tied it in the third period, and Carter Verhaeghe also had a goal for the Panthers. Driedger finished with 29 saves.READ MORE: South Florida House Republicans Vote Against President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Package
Mikko Koivu and Max Domi scored and Merzlikins had 33 saves as Columbus dealt the Panthers their first loss in four games this season. Columbus rebounded after giving up a tying goal with 3 seconds left in regulation Tuesday night and then losing the shootout in the fifth round.
Koivu got his first goal as a Blue Jacket late in the first period. Eric Robinson got to the loose puck behind the net, brought it around and set up Koivu with a pass across the crease.
Verhaeghe took the puck away from Texier in Florida’s zone late in the second and ended up poking it in from the doorstep past the glove of a falling Merzlikins.
Domi got his first goal of the season — also his first as a Blue Jacket — when he beat Driedger on a power play at 6:19 of the third period. The Panthers tied it again at 12:56 when Luostarinen tapped in a rebound that had trickled into the blue paint.
The Blue Jackets showed more jump after managing just 22 shots in the first game against Florida.
“That was a gritty effort there,” Dreidger said. “They came out harder than they did (Tuesday). They definitely upped their game.”MORE NEWS: Trump A Dominant Force At Conservative Conference In Orlando
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