Florida Panthers

Panthers still looking outside at playoff spot, but all is not lost

Five takeaways from the Florida Panthers’ 4-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night.

1. Florida has plenty of games remaining.

Yes, the Panthers could have jumped into a playoff spot by beat the Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

But they did not.

It’s not the end of the world — not even close.

Boughner stressed that on Wednesday when he said he didn’t want to put too much weight on the result of Thursday’s game as Florida still has “a lot of big games left.”

The Panthers return home to face the struggling Arizona Coyotes on Saturday and have 10 games remaining in this chase to the playoffs.

Losing to the Blue Jackets — a team that has won their past 10 — does not derail these playoff dreams.

“We’re not going to win all of them,” goalie Roberto Luongo said. “We’re going home for one and have to make sure we take care of business.”

Added Boughner: “We have been good with facing adversity and bouncing back after a game like this. We know those guys are playing extremely well. Whether we get two points against Columbus or two against Arizona, it doesn’t matter. Points are points at this part of the season. We need to get back on a roll here.”

2. The power play has lost some juice.

Florida enjoyed a lot of success while playing with the extra skater earlier this season, but that has slowed a bit.

On Thursday, the Panthers went 0 for 4 on the power play. Florida has gone 0 for 13 on the power play in its past four games.

Florida had a chance to take a 1-0 lead on its first opportunity in the opening period, but Columbus defenseman Seth Jones knocked the puck away from Jonathan Huberdeau in front of the net.

“We did enough to get a goal there on a back-door tap-in,” Boughner said. “Jones made a great play. That goes in, it’s 1-0.”

3. Florida finally gave up a power-play goal.

The Panthers have been terrific at killing off penalties this season and came into the night without surrendering one in their previous 10 games.

Florida would not get a chance at the franchise record of 12 consecutive games without giving up a power-play goal as Jones bounced one off Colton Sceviour for Columbus’ third goal of the second period.

“There was a five-minute lapse in our game,” Luongo said. “That was the ballgame. The rest of the 55 minutes was pretty evenly played; playoff hockey.”

4. Beating “Bob” isn’t easy.

The Panthers were coming off a 7-2 drubbing of Ottawa in which seven different players scored a goal.

Just finding one against Sergei Bobrovsky was tough on Thursday as he sent back 33 shots on goal for his fifth shutout of the season.

Thursday was not the first time Bobrovsky took out the Panthers as it marked his 12th win in 15 games against Florida. Bobrovsky also went 3-0 against the Panthers this season.

“When you get a 3-0 lead with a goalie like that,” Boughner said, “it’s tough to come back from.”

5. Vincent Trocheck plays in his 300th game.

A third-round pick in 2011, Trocheck has become one of the top young players in the NHL. He has a career-high 28 goals and 66 points already.

Thursday, he played in his 300th NHL game — all with the Panthers.

He wasn’t in much mood to celebrate the milestone.

“We didn’t get the quality chances that we should have,” Trocheck said. “The ones we did, we didn’t capitalize on. At this time of year, you have to bear down.”

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