EditorsNote: 3rd graf, change 22 saves to 23 saves; 10th graf, change 2:21 to 2:23
Sergei Bobrovsky, facing his former team for the first time since leaving, made 33 saves to lead the host Florida Panthers past the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Saturday night.
Evgenii Dadonov, Josh Brown, Brett Connolly and Mike Hoffman scored for Florida, which snapped a seven-game losing streak in its series against Columbus. Center Aleksander Barkov and defenseman Keith Yandle each added two assists.
Columbus backup Elvis Merzlikins, a 25-year-old rookie who has yet to win an NHL game, made 23 saves. Vladislav Gavrikov scored the Blue Jackets' goal.
Florida, 2-1-0 so far on a franchise-record nine-game homestand, got a big effort from Bobrovsky, who spent the previous seven years in Columbus. He signed a seven-year, $70 million deal with the Panthers in July.
Columbus has lost four straight games, the past two losses coming against teams with one of its former stars. They lost 3-2 to Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers on Thursday.
The Panthers needed just 18 seconds to score the game's first goal as Dadonov redirected Yandle's shot, and the puck went under Merzlikins' pads.
Merzlikins was beaten through the five-hole again as the Panthers made it 2-0 with 8:53 expired in the second. Barkov got the primary assist as he spotted Brown skating toward the net and dished a perfect cross-ice pass.
Florida made it 3-0 on Connolly's power-play goal. Yandle's long shot from above the right circle was tipped in by Connolly with 13:51 left in the third.
Gavrikov scored with 9:26 left in the third. Alexandre Texier fed Gavrikov, whose shot from the high slot went through the legs of teammate Josh Anderson and past a screened-off Bobrovsky.
Hoffman's empty-net goal with 2:23 left sealed the win for Florida.
Connolly leads the Panthers with 13 goals. Dadonov and Hoffman have 11, and Brown, a defenseman, has two.
--Field Level Media