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Sergei Bobrovsky Slammed the Door on Pittsburgh Penguins



Florida panthers Sergei bobrovsky
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby gets off a shot in front of Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on Friday night in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE — When the Florida Panthers needed him most, Sergei Bobrovsky came up big against his old nemesis, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Early on, the Panthers desperately needed him.

Florida’s offense could not generate as many quality chances as it is used to and Bobrovsky had to fend off a few big opportunities from the Penguins.

Bobrovsky finished the night with 26 saves on 27 shots in a 3-1 win.

“I think our goaltending has been really good this year, but there haven’t been a lot of nights where we needed them to be the dominant player,” coach Paul Maurice said.

“But tonight, Sergei had to be the difference in the second period because that game is over and there is no coming back if he isn’t as good as he was.”

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Bobrovsky had to go save-for-save with Tristan Jarry and it was a deadlock for a while.

His only blemish was a Reilly Smith goal where he was sent into the slot all alone via a through pass by Evgeni Malkin 8:05 into the second period.

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“He is a good goalie and he is going to be there every time,” Oliver Ekman-Larsson said.

“So I think he kept us in the game early on in the first two periods and made some key saves at the end there, so we are just trying to battle in front of him and keep in simple most games.

Ekman-Larsson won one of his battles to get Florida on the board.

He fought through a sea of bodies near the front of the net to poke in an Anton Lundell rebound with 2:56 to go in the second period.

The goal immediately shifted the momentum in Florida’s direction once the third period started.

Florida held a 13-5 lead in shots and 17-9 lead in scoring chances in the final frame.

Eetu Luostarinen had the shot that made the difference, getting a hold of an Evan Rodrigues rebound through traffic and putting it past Jarry 6:10 into the third.

But that does not mean they didn’t need Bobrovsky in the third.

Six of Pittsburgh’s nine scoring chances were in high-danger areas and Bobrovsky was ready for it.

Sidney Crosby was sprung out of the corner into a 1-on-1 battle with Bobrovsky with 13:12 to go in the game, but the all-world scorer was not given a chance.

Bobrovsky followed him the entire way and came up with a huge pad save to keep things even.

”He is such a smart player,” Bobrovsky said of Crosby.

”He was able to gain the speed pretty much out of nowhere, so I was just able to put the pad on it and just get lucky there. He made an incredible move.”

The Panthers found themselves on a penalty kill with 2:39 to go and did what they do best in those final minutes: shut things down.

They did not allow a single shot on that power play and blocked four total shots in the final minutes as Pittsburgh was pushing for a tying goal with the extra attacker out there.

“I think it starts with the penalty kill,” Ekman-Larsson said of the team’s shutdown ability in the final minutes of games.

“We have a lot of confidence in that and I think that goes over to the 6-on-5 as well. I think we know what to do out there and we stay calm while trying to focus on whatever each guy is supposed to do out there. I think that’s the key out there and that’s what I like about this team. We can win 6-0 we can win tight games and it’s a nice feeling to be able to win in different ways.”

Sasha Barkov sealed the deal with an empty-netter and the Panthers will leave Sunrise for a five-game road trip at 16-8-2 on the season.

”They have lots of skill up front, big guys, big names, so it was fun and it was a great challenge,” Bobrovsky said.

”Things weren’t easy for us, but we stuck together, chipped away and found a way to get two points against a really good team.”



  • When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
  • Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL/Panthers App
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Florida leads 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Jackets 4 OT (Nov.6); Ap. 11. At Columbus: Sunday
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Columbus leads 26-18-4
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Seattle, 10 p.m.

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