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Steve Gorten: For this kind of money, Panthers need ‘Big Game Bobrovsky’



Panthers florida report cards
So, who starts for the Florida Panthers in Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning? Will it be (from left) Sergei Bobrovsky, rookie Spencer Knight or Chris Driedger? // Photos courtesy @FlaPanthers

The Panthers are depositing $10 million into the bank account of Sergei Bobrovsky this season, and they’re slated to do the same for five more seasons.

That’s distressing, considering he allowed 10 goals in two playoff starts this past week and might be a benchwarmer wearing his favorite ski cap for Monday night’s do-or-die Game 5.

Panthers Bobrovsky

Steve Gorten, Florida Hockey Now columnist

“We’ll talk about it,” Joel Quenneville said of who’ll start after Saturday afternoon’s 6-2 loss at Amalie Arena, which gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead in this first-round series.

“We’ll reconvene and look at the options.”

Perhaps Quenneville will turn again to Chris Driedger, like he did for Games 2 and 3 after Bobrovsky gave up five in the opening game.

Maybe Spencer Knight will get a chance. Quenneville may decide to stick with Bobrovsky.

Quenneville did the latter for Saturday’s crucial Game 4 after Bobrovsky stopped all nine shots he faced in relief in Tuesday’s Game 3 overtime win.

It wasn’t the wrong move. But it backfired.

The Panthers badly needed shades of “Big Game Bob,” the guy who backstopped the Blue Jackets to a stunning first-round sweep of the Lightning two years ago.

Instead, they got the Bob plagued by postseason struggles for most of his career, the version that former Jackets coach John Tortorella suggested should see a sports psychologist for that reason.

Bobrovsky made it clear he wasn’t fond of said suggestion.

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