COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Artemi Panarin turned out to be everything the Columbus Blue Jackets were looking for when they traded for him last summer: A dead-eye sniper and deft puck distributor who can get game-breaking goals and make everyone around him better.
And, the Blue Jackets hope, a guy who can get them deeper into the playoffs.
So far, so good. Columbus heads home to Nationwide Arena after taking a 2-0 lead over Washington in their first-round series on Sunday night, a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win in which Panarin contributed a pair of key assists.
That came three nights after Panarin won the series opener in overtime. With two assists already in regulation, he drove down the left side, slipped past Capitals defenseman Dimitry Orlov and snapped…