- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
Johansen lifts Blue Jackets past Panthers, 3-2
Question of the Day
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking forward to their second playoff appearance in franchise history.
Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and the Blue Jackets beat the Florida Panthers for the eighth straight time, 3-2 on Saturday night. Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves.
The Blue Jackets clinched the first wild-card spot and will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Just excited for the opportunity to play in the playoffs. That’s something you have to earn and our players went and earned it this year,” Columbus coach Todd Richards’ said. “We’ve got the opportunity to play one of the premier teams in the league, a team that has talented players, they know how to win, they’re well-coached, and we get to go in their building.”
Columbus‘ previous playoff appearance was in 2009 when it was swept in four games by Detroit.
Philadelphia’s 4-3 overtime win over Pittsburgh earlier Saturday clinched third place in the Metropolitan Division for the Flyers and forced Columbus to the wild-card spot.
The Blue Jackets went 0-5 against the Penguins this season, losing all five in regulation.
“Half the guys wanted to play Pittsburgh. I think we owe them more than anything,” Atkinson said.
“When you get passes like that you really just have to hit the net,” Johansen said. “All the credit to Wis’ great vision hitting me down low there. Give them (Florida) credit, they played really hard tonight. I’m proud of the guys sticking with it and finally got two points.”
The Blue Jackets played eight games in the last 12 days; the last three on the road.
“The relief is that we got through the game healthy,” Richards said. “It was tough stretch that we just went through.When that happens, fatigue sets in and usually brains start not functioning in the right way, but we found a way to win the game.”
Hayes’ goal in the second period gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Hayes grabbed a loose puck in the Columbus zone, brought it down the boards on the right side and his shot from the right circle beat Bobrovsky at 6:35.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- ISIL captured 52 U.S.-made howitzers; artillery weapons cost 500K each
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq