Sergei Bobrovsky shuts out Rangers as Panthers win Game 1 of Eastern Conference final

Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald on

Published in Hockey

NEW YORK — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 23 shots he faced as the Florida Panthers beat the New York Rangers 3-0 on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final at Madison Square Garden.

It’s Bobrovsky’s second career postseason shutout. The other one? May 22, 2023 — exactly one year ago — in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Florida’s defense didn’t give the Rangers too many chances against Bobrovsky through the first two periods, a trademark of this team throughout the season, but Bobrovsky came up big when they needed him to in the third.

Perhaps no bigger moment came than a scramble at the net with just under seven-and-a-half minutes left in regulation when Bobrovsky stopped a pair of Alex Wennberg shots, a third by Jacob Trouba got blocked and a fourth attempt by Wennberg — all in the span of 12 seconds — hit the post. He then stopped

Before that, his top moments came at the start and end of the second period. In the opening minute of the frame, Bobrovsky denied a Will Cuylle wrist shot on a breakaway. And then in the final seconds, Bobrovsky knocked aside a Mike Zibanejad backhanded shot with the Rangers on the power play.

Want some more context on how big this shutout is from a historical standpoint? Consider the following:

— It’s just the second-ever Panthers shutout win on the road in the playoffs. The other came on May 2, 1996, at Philadelphia, when John Vanbiesbrouck stopped all 18 shots he faced in the 2-0 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.


— It’s just the Panthers’ fifth overall playoff shutout win. In addition to Bobrovsky’s shutout last year and the road shutout win in 1996, the other two were April 21, 2012 (first round, Game 5 against the New Jersey Devils at home) and April 17, 1997 (first round, Game 1 against the Rangers at home).

— The last time the Rangers were shut out at home in the playoffs: April 21, 2016, in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s just the 17th time ever the Rangers have been shut out at home in the postseason.

Matthew Tkachuk gave Florida all the offense it needed with his fifth goal of the playoffs 16:26 minutes into the first period. The star winger received a drop pass from Gustav Forsling and made his way toward the left circle before firing a wrist shot that beat Igor Shesterkin to give Florida the 1-0 lead.

The Panthers got a second goal with 3:50 left in regulation when the Rangers’ Erik Gustafsson deflected a Carter Verhaeghe pass past Shesterkin.

Sam Bennett capped scoring with an empty-netter with 1:19 left in regulation.


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