COLUMBUS (AP) – Artemi Panarin didn’t need to score a goal to have a big impact in his first game for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Acquired in an offseason trade with the Chicago Blackhawks and touted as the elite scorer Columbus needs, Panarin had three assists and passed sharply in the Blue Jackets’ 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
“We’re really excited with what he brings in the full package,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “There’s a hell of a lot more to him than just the skill.”
Rookies Sonny Milano and Pierre-Luc Dubois had their first NHL goals, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Murray and Zach Werenski also scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for his 20th career shutout.
With all of the offensive opportunities, it could have been worse for New York.
Milano scored on Columbus’ first shot of the season – 1:07 in. Oliver Bjorkstrand shoveled the puck out from the back wall to the 21-year-old Milano, who snapped a 10-footer past goalie Thomas Greiss.
“I think it was like a 10-second shift,” Milano said. “I just got out there and the puck landed on my stick and I put it in, so it was pretty cool.”
Midway through the first period, Panarin circled in and teed up a pass that grazed Greiss’ stick and went into the net off Atkinson’s skate. The whole sequence came about after Atkinson picked off a pass in the neutral zone and fed Panarin for the rush.
Murray scored from the left circle 6:57 into the second period after getting a pass from Panarin, who carried the puck around the back of the net. Later in the period on a power play, Werenski jumped on a sharp rebound and slammed it past Greiss from about 60 feet.
The 19-year-old Dubois – the third overall pick in 2016 – got his first NHL goal, a wrister from the slot 1:25 later to make it 5-0.
“It was really fun,” Dubois said. “Sonny started us off with a goal, and it doesn’t get better than that.”
New York opened with energy, but got bogged down after Columbus started scoring.
“It was disappointing,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said. “It seemed a little like deer-in-the-headlights after it was 3-nothing. We just didn’t react well.”
Greiss made 21 saves before being pulled after giving up Dubois’ goal. Jaroslav Halak stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief.
NOTES: Atkinson has scored in four straight season openers. … Panarin was the first player in Columbus franchise history to get three points in his club debut. … The Blue Jackets loaned RW Josh Anderson to Cleveland of the American Hockey League for conditioning. He didn’t participate in training camp because of a contract dispute. The team also sent D Markus Nutivaara to Cleveland. … Columbus is the youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 25. …. D Ryan Pulock, D Scott Mayfield and C Joshua Ho-Sang were healthy scratches for New York. D Scott Harrington was scratched for Columbus. … Shane Prince and Alan Quine are out with injuries for New York. … Boone Jenner, who is out with an injury for Columbus, saw his consecutive-game streak stopped at 175.
New York: Hosts Buffalo on Saturday night.
Columbus: At Chicago on Saturday night.