Bobrovsky blanks former team, Panthers score 4 on Jackets


SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots, and the Florida Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 on Tuesday night.

It was the first shutout of the season for Bobrovsky, who played with Columbus from 2013-19.

The Panthers got goals from Brandon Montour, Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart as they halted a two-game skid.

Bobrovsky had struggled in November and lost his starting job to Spencer Knight late last month in a loss to the Blue Jackets. But with Knight out with illness, Bobrovsky has played well in his past four starts, allowing one goal or fewer in two of them.

“I don’t think that way,’’ Bobrovsky said when asked if it was special getting a shutout against the Jackets. “You prepare for the game, prepare for the next shot and see what happens. I approach every game one shot at a time and see what happens. Sometimes you win and sometimes you get a loss. But it definitely feels good to get a win.”

Bobrovsky, who is now 9-2-1 against Columbus since leaving for Florida, was solid from the start Tuesday as the Blue Jackets were shutout for the second time this season.

Florida took the initial lead at 9:04 of the first on a slapshot from Brandon Montour. The Panthers extended their lead on a goal from Tkachuk at 3:47 in the second period and Barkov scored with 43.3 seconds remaining in the second.

“Bob’s game was real important,’’ Florida coach Paul Maurice said of his goalie. “You look at him numbers and say ‘He had an easy night.’ He had an important night. He hasn’t had a lot of breaks around the net so I am happy for him. He earned it over time. We have asked a lot of him and he has delivered.”

Reinhart capped a three-point night by scoring into an empty net with 1:46 left in the game.

Elvis Merzlikins made 22 saves for Columbus, which had won its past two games.

“We had two pretty solid periods there,’’ Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “The first was really good. The second they had a few looks there with their power play and stuff, but there wasn’t a lot. It’s tough to come out of those two periods down 3-0, let’s put it that way. … To come out after those two periods and be down 3-0, it didn’t feel like a 3-0 game. I’ll just leave it at that.”

NOTES: The Panthers were again without center Anton Lundell (six games) and Knight (four) due to illness. Florida also said forward Carter Verhaeghe — the team’s leading goal-scorer (15) — was ill. The Panthers brought up 2018 first-round pick Grigori Denisenko from their AHL team in Charlotte to replace Verhaeghe. … Florida lost two forwards during the game to injury. Colin White left after an early hit from Andrew Peeke and Chris Tierney exited after a second-period hit from Jake Christiansen. Maurice did not have an update on either player following the game.


Blue Jackets: At Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Panthers: Host Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

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