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game recap

Bobrovsky tops Blue Jackets for Panthers, first game against former team

Makes 33 saves, allows one goal; Hoffman has two points

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Brown buries a terrific pass

CBJ@FLA: Barkov, Brown connect for a sweet goal

Aleksander Barkov makes a slick cross-ice pass to Josh Brown, who scores to increase the Panthers' lead to 2-0 in the 2nd period

  • 00:32 •

Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves for the Florida Panthers in his first game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a 4-1 win at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday.

Bobrovsky lost his shutout at 10:34 of the third period when Vladislav Gavrikov scored to make it 3-1. The goalie, who signed a seven-year contract with the Panthers as a free agent after playing seven seasons with the Blue Jackets, has now defeated every existing NHL team.

"It's kind of weird to face your former teammates. It's a different feeling," he said. "I spent seven years in Columbus, so I appreciate this organization and everything they have done for me."

 

[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Panthers highlights]

 

Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (14-9-5).

The Blue Jackets (11-14-4) have scored five goals in losing four straight. Elvis Merzlikins, one of six rookies in the Columbus lineup, made 23 saves and is 0-4-3.

"It stinks, but you've got to stay positive," Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano said of the lack of scoring. "You can't let it get to you. Hopefully, they'll start to go in."

Video: CBJ@FLA: Dadonov scores goal 18 seconds into the 1st

Evgenii Dadonov scored 18 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead with a deflected shot. The Panthers won the opening face-off and cycled the puck until it came to Keith Yandle at the left point.

"It's really tough. The game just started and we're 1-0 down already," Merzlikins said. "It's a negative feeling starting the game."

Josh Brown made it 2-0 at 8:53 of the second period with his second goal of the season. He received a backdoor pass from the left wall from Aleksander Barkov.

"Obviously, it was a big game for [Bobrovsky]," Brown said. "He's been great with us. He's a great guy in the room. We really look up to him. We were trying to play a little harder for him."

Brett Connolly made it 3-0 at 6:09 of the third period when he tipped Yandle's shot on the power play and it went off the knee of Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones.

Hoffman scored into an empty net at 17:37 to make it 4-1.

"We knew they were going to make a push in the third period," he said. "We wanted to play the same way we did the first two periods, playing well defensively."

On Thursday, former Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin returned to Columbus for the first time since signing with the New York Rangers as a free agent. He scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory.

Bobrovsky is scheduled to return to Nationwide Arena return Dec. 31. He entered this game 9-6-4 with a 3.48 goals-against average and an .884 save percentage, which was tied for last in the NHL among goalies to play at least 10 games this season.

"I liked everything about his game tonight," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "I'm sure it was an interesting day for him. There was a lot of focus and attention and he responded well."

Video: CBJ@FLA: Connolly banks puck in off defender for PPG

 

They said it

"If you are only scoring one or two, you almost have to play perfect, the goalie has to play perfect. Hard to play in the League now if you don't get run support. You just tighten yourself up." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"[Nick Foligno] tried to get me a little but I said, 'I still love you, man.'" -- Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky when asked if there was any pregame chirping from former teammates

 

Need to know

The Panthers had three shots on goal in the first period, their fewest in a period this season. ... Yandle has six assists during a four-game point streak. ... Columbus defenseman Andrew Peeke, a Parkland, Florida native, played 11:44 and was plus-1 his second NHL game after debuting against the Rangers. He said his parents are longtime Panthers season ticket holders. ... Panthers forward Aleksi Saarela played 10:33 in his NHL debut after being recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Friday. He was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 22. ... Blue Jackets forward Alexander Wennberg was a healthy scratch; he was replaced by Eric Robinson, who was minus-1 playing 10:03. ... This was the first of a four-game trip for the Blue Jackets. The Panthers played the third of a nine-game homestand.

 

What's next

Blue Jackets: At the Washington Capitals on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; FS-F, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

Video: Hoffman, Bobrovsky propel Panthers to 4-1 victory

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