Werenski's hat trick lifts Blue Jackets over Panthers 4-1

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Zach Werenski’s first career hat trick helped spoil the first Columbus homecoming for Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovski, and the Blue Jackets won again, despite adding another name to their growing list of injured players.

Werenski scored in the first period and twice in the third -- the first hat trick for a Columbus defenseman since 2006 -- as the battered Blue Jackets beat Bobrovsky and the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Tuesday night.

The night also was a triumph for Columbus rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins, who was thrust into the starting role after Joonas Korpisalo was injured in the first round of a shootout with Chicago on Sunday night. Merzlikins had played in 10 games this season, started four, and had yet to win one.

He stopped 36 shots in front of a sellout home crowd and kept Columbus in the game when they were being outplayed by the Panthers, particularly in the second period.

“Finally it came,” he said. “I had 10 shots to do it, so finally it came. I really appreciated just seeing my teammates in the last seconds, even at 4-1, they were blocking shots because they knew how important it was for me to get that first win.”

The Blue Jackets served up a rude welcome for Bobrovsky, who was making his first appearance in Columbus since leaving as a free agent last summer. Bobrovsky, who played in Columbus for seven seasons and won two Vezina Trophies, had 24 saves.

It was an emotional trip back for him.

“Lots of memories,” he said. “Went to my old apartment. Cried a couple of times there. It’s tough. Seven years is a lot.”

The Blue Jackets won for the first time in three games, but extended their points streak to 11 games (7-0-4). They're missing at least 10 players with various injuries and may have lost another, forward Alexander Texier, on Tuesday. The rookie left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and didn't return.

Werenski got to his friend Bobrovsky first at 4:54 of the first period, scoring off the draw with a slap shot from the top of the left circle that zoomed over the goalie's glove.

Colton Scevior tied it for the Panthers when he deflected a shot from the blue line by Anton Stralman 3:39 into the second.

Jenner got his eighth goal of the season on a power play later in the second period, a shot from a crowded slot that got between Bobrovsky's pads. That made it 2-1 Columbus.

Weresnski got his second of the night at 4:13 of the third period with a shot from the left circle that caught Bobrovsky out in front of the crease. Florida unsuccessfully challenged it, claiming goalie interference because Nick Foligno had contact with Bobrovsky. Werenski made it 4-1 with his third tally, another from the left circle.

“It was pretty cool,” said the 22-year-old Werenski, who doesn't remember if he's ever had a another hat trick in his life. "After I scored that third goal I kind of looked at the crowd and just saw hats coming down. I’ve never had that feeling before.”

With a lineup filled with guys who started the season in the minors, Columbus coach John Tortorella said he'd been relying on veterans like Werenski to take on more responsibility.

“The last few weeks we’ve asked him and (defenseman Seth Jones) to lead the way," Tortorella said. "He’s been aggressive offensively for quite awhile. Nice to see the pucks go in for us tonight.”

NOTES: Jenner also had an assist, on Werenski's second goal, and Alexander Wennberg had a pair of assists. ... Bobrovsky got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena during a first-period scoreboard tribute. ... Columbus F Nathan Gerbe played in his 400th NHL game.

UP NEXT

Blue Jackets: At Boston on Thursday night.

Panthers: At Ottawa on Thursday night.

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Follow Mitch Stacy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mitchstacy

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Copyright 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

123T
FLA20-14-5
0101
CLB18-14-8
1124
STARS OF THE GAME
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
N. Acciari C00016/2018:031
A. Barkov C00-2110/8020:570
B. Boyle C00-114/6011:480
J. Brown D00010/0212:521
B. Connolly RW00020/0016:362
E. Dadonov RW00-240/0014:461
A. Ekblad D00-130/0023:360
M. Hoffman LW00020/0017:050
J. Huberdeau LW00-220/0019:351
M. Matheson D00-120/0015:270
M. Pysyk D01110/0209:430
C. Sceviour RW10023/0010:562
R. Stillman D00010/0020:323
A. Stralman D01-110/0021:351
D. Toninato LW00110/3208:441
V. Trocheck C00056/3017:270
F. Vatrano LW00-131/0012:362
K. Yandle D00-140/0022:320
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
G. Carlsson D00-100/0012:020
P. Dubois C00014/8017:241
N. Foligno LW01210/1018:334
V. Gavrikov D00000/0024:070
N. Gerbe LW00020/0016:572
B. Jenner C11238/12021:540
S. Jones D00220/0023:100
D. Kukan D00-110/0013:200
J. Lilja LW00000/0010:340
R. MacInnis C00-111/0012:111
R. Nash C00005/3213:380
G. Nyquist LW02230/0020:110
E. Robinson RW00030/0011:302
D. Savard D01110/0221:190
K. Stenlund RW00040/0216:471
A. Texier C00100/0002:550
A. Wennberg C02004/6015:280
Z. Werenski D30360/0022:000
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
S. Bobrovsky (L)284240.85758:15
GOALIESSA
S. Bobrovsky (L)28
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
E. Merzlikins (W)371360.97360:00
GOALIESSA
E. Merzlikins (W)37
Frank Vatrano shot on goal (Wrist shot)
FLA:GoalsShots
CLB:GoalsShots
Full Play By Play
GOALS
  • 3RD PERIOD
    • CLB
      08:04GOAL Zach Werenski (Wrist shot), Assists: Gustav Nyquist and Nick Foligno
    • CLB
      04:13GOAL Zach Werenski (Wrist shot), Assists: David Savard and Boone Jenner
  • 2ND PERIOD
    • CLB
      15:34(PP) GOAL Boone Jenner (Snap shot), Assists: Gustav Nyquist and Alexander Wennberg
    • FLA
      03:39GOAL Colton Sceviour (Tip-in shot), Assists: Anton Stralman and Mark Pysyk
  • 1ST PERIOD
    • CLB
      04:54GOAL Zach Werenski (Slap shot), Assist: Alexander Wennberg
PENALTIES
  • 3RD PERIOD
    • CLB
      13:19Kevin Stenlund penalty Holding - 2 min.
    • FLA
      13:19Mark Pysyk penalty Holding - 2 min.
    • FLA
      04:13Bench penalty Delay of Game - 2 min., served by Mark Pysyk
  • 2ND PERIOD
    • FLA
      14:39Dominic Toninato penalty Interference - 2 min.
    • CLB
      11:11Riley Nash penalty Tripping - 2 min.
    • FLA
      07:59Josh Brown penalty Interference - 2 min.
  • 1ST PERIOD
    • CLB
      06:12David Savard penalty Slashing - 2 min.
TEAM STATS
FLA
CLB
Shots on Goal3728
Goals in Power Play01
Faceoff Wins3022
Penalties43
Major Penalties00
Minor Penalties43
Misconducts00
TEAM STATS
FLA
Shots on Goal37
Goals in Power Play0
Faceoff Wins30
Penalties4
Major Penalties0
Minor Penalties4
Misconducts0
123T
FLA20-14-5
0101
CLB18-14-8
1124
STARS OF THE GAME
2.7 %SHOT %14.3 %
0.857 %SAVE %0.973 %
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
N. Acciari C00016/2018:031
A. Barkov C00-2110/8020:570
B. Boyle C00-114/6011:480
J. Brown D00010/0212:521
B. Connolly RW00020/0016:362
E. Dadonov RW00-240/0014:461
A. Ekblad D00-130/0023:360
M. Hoffman LW00020/0017:050
J. Huberdeau LW00-220/0019:351
M. Matheson D00-120/0015:270
M. Pysyk D01110/0209:430
C. Sceviour RW10023/0010:562
R. Stillman D00010/0020:323
A. Stralman D01-110/0021:351
D. Toninato LW00110/3208:441
V. Trocheck C00056/3017:270
F. Vatrano LW00-131/0012:362
K. Yandle D00-140/0022:320
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
G. Carlsson D00-100/0012:020
P. Dubois C00014/8017:241
N. Foligno LW01210/1018:334
V. Gavrikov D00000/0024:070
N. Gerbe LW00020/0016:572
B. Jenner C11238/12021:540
S. Jones D00220/0023:100
D. Kukan D00-110/0013:200
J. Lilja LW00000/0010:340
R. MacInnis C00-111/0012:111
R. Nash C00005/3213:380
G. Nyquist LW02230/0020:110
E. Robinson RW00030/0011:302
D. Savard D01110/0221:190
K. Stenlund RW00040/0216:471
A. Texier C00100/0002:550
A. Wennberg C02004/6015:280
Z. Werenski D30360/0022:000
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
S. Bobrovsky (L)284240.85758:15
GOALIESSA
S. Bobrovsky (L)28
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
E. Merzlikins (W)371360.97360:00
GOALIESSA
E. Merzlikins (W)37
STARS OF THE GAME
123T
FLA20-14-5
0101
CLB18-14-8
1124
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
N. Acciari C00016/2018:031
A. Barkov C00-2110/8020:570
B. Boyle C00-114/6011:480
J. Brown D00010/0212:521
B. Connolly RW00020/0016:362
E. Dadonov RW00-240/0014:461
A. Ekblad D00-130/0023:360
M. Hoffman LW00020/0017:050
J. Huberdeau LW00-220/0019:351
M. Matheson D00-120/0015:270
M. Pysyk D01110/0209:430
C. Sceviour RW10023/0010:562
R. Stillman D00010/0020:323
A. Stralman D01-110/0021:351
D. Toninato LW00110/3208:441
V. Trocheck C00056/3017:270
F. Vatrano LW00-131/0012:362
K. Yandle D00-140/0022:320
Total1203730/228-15
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
G. Carlsson D00-100/0012:020
P. Dubois C00014/8017:241
N. Foligno LW01210/1018:334
V. Gavrikov D00000/0024:070
N. Gerbe LW00020/0016:572
B. Jenner C11238/12021:540
S. Jones D00220/0023:100
D. Kukan D00-110/0013:200
J. Lilja LW00000/0010:340
R. MacInnis C00-111/0012:111
R. Nash C00005/3213:380
G. Nyquist LW02230/0020:110
E. Robinson RW00030/0011:302
D. Savard D01110/0221:190
K. Stenlund RW00040/0216:471
A. Texier C00100/0002:550
A. Wennberg C02004/6015:280
Z. Werenski D30360/0022:000
Total4702822/306-11
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
S. Bobrovsky (L)284240.85758:15
GOALIESSA
S. Bobrovsky (L)28
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
E. Merzlikins (W)371360.97360:00
GOALIESSA
E. Merzlikins (W)37
GOALS
  • 3RD PERIOD
  • 2ND PERIOD
  • 1ST PERIOD
PENALTIES
  • 3RD PERIOD
  • 2ND PERIOD
  • 1ST PERIOD
  • 3RD PERIOD
  • 2ND PERIOD
  • 1ST PERIOD

123T
FLA20-14-5
0101
CLB18-14-8
1124
TEAM STATS
3.97
GF AVG
3.74
GA AVG
.85
Power Play
3.16
GF AVG
3.41
GA AVG
.66
Power Play
All times are US/Eastern.