How Panthers' Bobrovsky stays locked in during quiet periods in games. And a Sam Reinhart update

Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald on

Published in Hockey

Sergei Bobrovsky knows he can only control so much. On any given night, the Florida Panthers’ veteran goaltender could be challenged with nonstop shots on goal or face extended stretches where he’s having to wait for any sort of action to come his way.

“I’m not choosing what they’re going to throw at me, what’s happening around me,” said Bobrovsky, a finalist this year for the Vezina Trophy given annually to the NHL’s best goaltender. “I try to keep my attention, keep my focus and stay with the moment.”

With the latter part of his statement, Bobrovsky thrives.

Take these past three games of the Panthers’ second-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Boston Bruins, all Florida wins, as a shining example.

Combined, Bobrovsky has faced just 50 shots on goal in the three games. The Panthers have held the Bruins to fewer than 10 shots on goal in eight of nine periods over the past three games — including five periods when Boston had five shots or fewer. This included just two shots on goal in the third period Sunday as Florida rallied for a 3-2 win at Boston’s TD Garden to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Bobrovsky gave up two goals in a five-shot first period — a one-timer by David Pastrnak on the power play and a Brandon Carlo shot from the point that trickled past him through traffic — before stopping all 13 shots he faced in the final two periods (11 in the second, just two in the third).


“Staying mentally focused — when you think about those words, you think about Sergei Bobrovsky right away,” said Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, who scored the game-winning goal 7:31 into the third period on Sunday. “He’s mentally focused. He’s ready. He’s prepared whenever. He’s huge for us. He’s our best player. He delivers every single night.”

And it’s something one has to watch to truly appreciate, especially when he doesn’t have the high volume of shots to defend.

Consider this: Bobrovsky is 7-2 so far in the playoffs entering Florida’s potential series-clinching Game 5 against Boston. He and the New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin are the only goalies with seven wins so far this postseason. Bobrovsky’s goals against average of 2.55 is the fourth-best among starting goaltenders still in the playoffs, behind only Dallas’ Jake Oettinger (2.12), Shesterkin (2.25) and Boston’s Jeremy Swayman (2.28).

But Bobrovsky’s save percentage is just .892 — for comparison, Swayman has a .930 save percentage, Shesterkin .927, Oettinger .919.


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