Blue Jackets Down Panthers 4-1 En Route to Elvis Merzlikins' First NHL Win

By Chris Pennington on December 31, 2019 at 9:34 pm
Boone Jenner
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry, Sergei Bobrovsky. This ended up not being your night.

Not that it was going to anyway, but the two-time Vezina winning goaltender likely didn't expect to lose to his former team in a blowout loss on the back of a hat trick from Zach Werenski and the first victory of rookie goaltender Elvis Merzlikins.

The Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-1 on a packed crowd on Tuesday night before New Year's, and it was a not-so-gentle reminder to Bobrovsky that the grass may be greener in Florida right now, but his defense in front of him is a confirmed downgrade.

The Blue Jackets got the party going early - with a Zach Werenski slap shot from the point. Little did most know that he would score two more from essentially the same spot on the ice to complete his hat trick.

Florida responded briefly in the second period with a beautiful tip-in by Panthers' Colton Sceviour 3:39 into the frame, but that was the closest they got the remainder of the evening.

Once Boone Jenner banged home a power play goal in the final four minutes, there was no looking back for Columbus. They let Bobrovsky have it for the final 30 minutes of the game (except for the last few minutes where he was pulled from duties for an extra attacker). 

Werenski scored his second and third goals within a matter of four minutes to put the dagger in the heart of the Panthers and force Bobrovsky to watch hats rain down on the ice he used to call home). 

Elvis Merzlkins earned his first NHL victory along with the other festivities of the evening, stopping 36 of 37 shots from the Panthers.


Alexandre Texier left the game with an upper-body injury and his status is not been made known yet.


The Blue Jackets face the Boston Bruins for the first time since last postseason on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at TD Garden.

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