SUNRISE — The Carolina Hurricanes had nothing else but desperation in this playoff series with the Florida Panthers and they threw everything they had at Sergei Bobrovsky on Monday night.
Bobrovsky was, in a word, spectacular.
Thanks to Bobrovsky and his first postseason shutout in 64 playoff games Monday, the Panthers are on the verge of the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996.
The only offense the Panthers got was a power play goal in the second period, but with Bobrovsky making 32 saves, it was enough for a 1-0 victory in front of 19,873 at FLA Live Arena.
Bobrovsky has now stopped 112 of 113 shots since giving up a goal in the third period of Game 1.
Florida, playing without star center Sasha Barkov for much of the night, again had to ride the excellent play of Bobrovsky as a power play goal from Sam Reinhart stood up for the second half of the game.
Now, the Panthers have a 3-0 lead in this best-of-7 series and can go to the Final with a win Wednesday night.
A whole truckload of credit has to go to Bobrovsky for what is going on with the Panthers these days.
Not only has he won 10 of his past 11 starts in the playoffs, but he has surrendered just two goals or fewer in the past eight games.
Bobrovsky had to be sharp again Monday night as the Hurricanes took 21 shots in the first 20 minutes.
Florida broke the ice in the scoreless game at 10:05 of the second when Reinhart got his seventh of the postseason by one-timing a Sam Bennett delivery past Frederik Andersen.
The Panthers shut things down in the third period as they often due, dropping back to play defense in front of Bobrovsky.
Carolina, as it often does, came on the attack in a desperate attempt to get the equalizer.
Big Game Bob did not flinch.
With 3:22 remaining, the Hurricanes pulled Andersen from the net — and rats hit the ice after Marc Staal appeared to score. But the play had been blown dead after Reinhart hit Shayne Gostisbehere and play rolled on.
Game 4, with a potential trip to the Final, is on Wednesday night.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Florida 1, Carolina 0 (10:05 PP, 2nd): The Panthers finally broke through midway through the second period as Sam Bennett got the puck out of the corner, fed Matthew Tkachuk who slid it onto his stick. Second power play goal of the series for the Panthers.
GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 3
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
2. Sam Reinahart, Florida
3. Frederik Andersen, Carolina
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
CAROLINA HURRICANES (MET1) AT PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 4 (Panthers Lead 3-0)
- When: Wednesdau, 8 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, WPOW 95.6 FM2, WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Series Schedule — Game 1: Florida 3, @Carolina 2; Game 2: Florida 2, @Carolina 1 (OT); Game 3: Monday @ Florida; Game 4: Wednesday at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 5*: Friday at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 6*: Sunday, May 28 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 7*: Tuesday, May 30 at Carolina, 8 (TNT). *If Necessary
- Season Series: (Carolina won 2-1): @Florida 3, Carolina 0 (Nov.9);@Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30); Carolina 6, @Florida 4 (April 13)
- All-Time Regular Season Series: Carolina/Hartford leads 71-46-10, 11 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting
- How They Got Here — Carolina: d. New York Islanders in 6; d. New Jersey Devils in 5. Florida: d. Boston Bruins in 7; d. Toronto Maple Leafs in 5.