Cassels scores first goal as a Blue Jacket

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Just two nights after a humiliating
six-goal loss at St. Louis, the Columbus Blue Jackets never trailed
and never looked back.

Andrew Cassels scored his first goal in a Columbus uniform and
added two assists as the Blue Jackets beat the Florida Panthers 4-1
Saturday night.

''We responded really well,'' said Cassels, who joined the Blue
Jackets as a free agent this summer after 12 years in the NHL.
''Obviously we were all a little embarrassed about the game in St.
Louis. I think we came out tonight and established a good
forecheck. We pressured their defense, got some good turnovers and
scoring chances. And we did that throughout the game.''

David Vyborny and Grant Marshall had a goal and an assist each
for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Ray
Whitney had two assists, and Geoff Sanderson added an empty-net

Columbus scored twice in four tries with a man advantage.

''Our power play got us a couple and I guess you could say that
was the story of the night,'' Whitney said. ''After being down two
goals early in the previous two games, falling behind tonight
wasn't what this team needed.''

Cassels made it 3-0 at 6:32 of the second period when he scored
on a 4-on-3 power play. Whitney's blast from the left wing was
blocked by Florida goalie Roberto Luongo but Cassels powered in the

''It's nice to get on the scoresheet early,'' he said. ''It's
just a big win for us. We've got a chance to get back to .500 the
next game.''

The Blue Jackets improved to 2-3.

Defenseman Derrick Walser, recalled earlier in the day from the
Blue Jackets' affiliate in Syracuse, set up Columbus' first goal on
the power play. After Vyborny dug the puck off the wall, Walser's
hard slap shot from the left point was redirected by Marshall in
the slot at 3:46.

The Blue Jackets tied a team record by scoring a power-play goal
for the fifth game in a row.

At 14:52 of the first, Whitney got the puck at the blue line and
passed to Vyborny who was on a 2-on-1 with Cassels. Vyborny passed
to Cassels, with Cassels passing back to Vyborny for the jam shot
past Luongo.

''The other game in St. Louis was a dreadful start,'' Columbus
coach Dave King said of the 7-1 loss. ''It just seemed like in St.
Louis, we got down 3-0 and we were just paralyzed. Tonight we got a
good quick start and got the lead and played well.''

Blue Jackets goalie Marc Denis finished with 26 saves.

Denis Shvidki ended the shutout at 16:28 of the second period,
scoring on a backhand wraparound, with the puck caroming off
Columbus defenseman Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre's skate and going between
Denis' pads.

''When we desperately needed a power-play goal, we couldn't
connect. We just didn't shoot the puck enough,'' said coach Mike
Keenan after the Panthers went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
''We're not scoring goals 5 on 5, so you have to score some on your
power play. Certainly that was the difference.''

The Blue Jackets' streak of consecutive home sellouts ended at
58 games with roughly 700 tickets unsold.

Game notes
Viktor Kozlov, tied for Florida's lead in scoring with five
points, missed the game with a rib cartilage injury. ... Jaroslav
Spacek assisted on Cassels' goal, stretching his point streak to
five games. It was his 100th career point. ... No. 4 Ohio State's
19-14 victory over Wisconsin was shown on the arena video boards
before the game.