Fri, 09 Jun 2023

Panthers blast Columbus 7-0 behind Carter Verhaeghe's 4 goals

Field Level Media
02 Apr 2023, 16:19 GMT+10

Carter Verhaeghe recorded a natural hat trick to highlight his career-high four-goal performance on Saturday, lifting the visiting Florida Panthers to a 7-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Alex Lyon made 21 saves to post his first career shutout. He was making his third straight start in place of two-time Vezina Trophy recipient Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been sidelined by a non-COVID illness.

Sam Reinhart collected a goal and two assists, Eric Staal had one of each and Nick Cousins also scored as the Panthers (39-31-7, 85 points) moved into sole possession of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida won its third game in a row in a row to leapfrog Pittsburgh mere hours after the Penguins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Boston Bruins.

Captain Aleksander Barkov and former Blue Jackets forward Anthony Duclair each had three assists for the Panthers.

Michael Hutchinson turned aside 42 shots for the Blue Jackets (23-44-8, 54 points), who have lost four in a row and 11 of their last 14 games (3-9-2).

With his team on the power play, Reinhart converted his third whack at a loose puck following Matthew Tkachuk's centering feed to open the scoring at 12:03 of the first period. Reinhart's goal was his 29th of the season and 15th with the man advantage.

Verhaeghe doubled the advantage with 2:31 remaining in the first period after one-timing defenseman Gustav Forsling's centering pass past Hutchinson.

Verhaeghe completed his third career hat trick in short order. He cleaned up a rebound of defenseman Aaron Ekblad's point shot at 18 seconds of the second period before his wrist shot from the left circle beat Hutchinson at 6:34.

Verhaeghe has nine goals and five assists in 12 career games versus Columbus.

Cousins roofed a shot over a prone Hutchinson at 8:34 of the third period before Verhaeghe converted at the doorstep at 11:18 to boost his goal total to a team-high 40. Staal capped the scoring just under three minutes later.

--Field Level Media

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