COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Carter Verhaeghe scored four goals to reach 40 for the season, Alex Lyon made 21 saves for his first shutout and the Florida Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-0 on Saturday night to move into the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Sam Reinhart added a goal and two assists, Nick Cousins and Eric Staal also scored and Anthony Duclair and Aleksander Barkov each had three assists in the Panthers’ third straight road victory.

Florida moved a point ahead of Pittsburgh for eighth place in the conference, with five games left on the Panthers’ schedule.

Michael Hutchinson stopped 42 shots for Columbus, which was shut out for the fifth time this season and has lost four straight. The Blue Jackets are tied with Chicago for the worst record in the NHL.

Florida dominated from the start, using a power-play score from Reinhart, his team-leading 15th of the season, and a goal from Verhaeghe for a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

Verhaeghe took charge of the second period, making it 3-0 after 18 seconds and completing a natural hat trick, the third of his career, just over six minutes later.

Cousins made it 5-0 at 8:34 of the third before Verhaeghe added his team-leading 40th.

Staal made it 7-0 with 5:44 left.


Panthers: Host Buffalo on Tuesday night.

Blue Jackets: Host Ottawa Sunday night.