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Blue Jackets beat Panthers to earn first-round matchup vs. Pens

Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Johansen supplied the game-winner with Columbus on the power play 5:58 into the third, as the playoff-bound Blue Jackets edged the Florida Panthers, 3-2, in the regular-season finale for both teams at BB&T Center.

Cam Atkinson and Mark Letestu each scored once, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots for the Blue Jackets, who clinched the Eastern Conference's first wild-card spot and will take on the Metropolitan Division champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the postseason.

Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Hayes netted a goal apiece for the Panthers, who went 16-20-5 at home and finished the season with 66 points.

"I think we have a bright future here right now," Hayes said. "Hopefully we can jell a little bit more and get off to a great start next year and continue from there."

Roberto Luongo allowed three goals on 38 shots in the setback.

With the game tied 2-2 just under five minutes into the third, Florida's Tomas Fleischmann was called for a tripping minor to give Columbus a power play.

Nearly a minute into the man advantage, Johansen slid a cross-ice feed from the left half boards to the right circle for James Wisniewski, who faked a shot before passing back to Johansen for a one-timer from the low left circle that put Columbus in front at 5:58.

"When you have passes like that, you really just have to hit the net," Johansen said of the feed that led to his game-winning goal. "All the credit to (Wisniewski) there. Great vision hitting me down low there."

Bobrovsky stood tall from there, turning away all nine shots he faced in the third to help the Blue Jackets hang on for the victory.

Early on, Atkinson got the Blue Jackets on the board just 47 seconds in when he buried a Brandon Dubinsky feed from the low right side for a 1-0 lead.

Florida's Ed Jovanovski took exception to a hit from Corey Tropp late in the frame and went back after Tropp with an elbow to the head. Jovanovski was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the infraction, which put the Panthers in an even deeper hole.

However, Trocheck came up with a steal near his own blue line nearly 2 1/2 minutes into the power play and raced in on a breakaway before sneaking a backhander through Bobrovsky to tie the tilt with 1:01 left in the period.

Hayes beat Bobrovsky short-side with a quick wrister from the right circle 6:35 into the second to put the Panthers on top, but Letestu potted a power- play goal 3:39 later to bring the Blue Jackets even.

Game Notes

Columbus forward Jared Boll picked up his 1,025th penalty minute to tie Jody Shelley as the club's all-time PIM leader ... The Blue Jackets went 0-5-0 against Pittsburgh this season ... Florida has lost eight straight meetings with Columbus, including all three this season ... Florida finished 0-for-4 on the power play.

04/12 22:29:59 ET

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