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Florida Panthers Need Better Goaltending to End Slump

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The Florida Panthers have lost their past three games and four of five. Stronger play in goal from Sergei Bobrovsky, left, and Spencer Knight would help them get out of their funk. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

There are a number of reasons why the Florida Panthers have lost their past three games and four of five — but their play in goal has to be at the top of that list.

Both Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight have had their moments this season but overall, the Panthers are not getting the kind of goaltending they did at the start of last season.

Bobrovsky started last season looking like he did in his Vezina Trophy-winning years in Columbus but has not put up anything close to those numbers lately.

Knight has mostly been solid for the Panthers although he has lost his past two starts since getting the team’s lone shutout of the season Nov. 9 against Carolina.

In his last start Saturday, Knight gave up four goals in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Flames. It was the most goals Knight has surrendered this season.

Bobrovsky has surrendered four or more in five of his 10 games this season — including in three of his past four starts.

No surprise, but the Panthers lost four of those five games.

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While coach Paul Maurice has talked about rotating goalies and making sure both of them stay active — without either getting too burned out from carrying a heavy workload.

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But right now, what the Panthers really need is for one of their goalies to start making some big saves at big times.

That really has not been happening lately.

Looking at the numbers and Knight definitely holds the edge.

Per ESPN.com, Knight is ranked 12th in goals-against average (2.43) and 13th in save percentage (.918).

Bobrovsky ranks 51st among NHL goalies in both GAA (3.62) and save percentage (.888).

When it comes to goals-saved above-average, Bobrovsky is ranked even lower, his minus-5.84 coming in 59th.

Knight is 11th at plus-3.34.

For the Panthers and their goalies, things are not about to get easier.

After a start with seven of the first 11 opponents not being playoff teams last season, the Panthers are currently in a run of playing nine of 10 against 2022 postseason participants.

Columbus, the team Bobrovsky gave five up to on Sunday night, was the exception.

Florida now welcomes in Boston (with the NHL’s top record going into Monday night) and St. Louis before a tough five-game road trip to western Canada and Seattle.

So, what can the Panthers do about their goaltending?

To be fair, this is not all on the goalies themselves.

For instance, Bobrovsky was victim to some pretty bad defensive play in the first period Thursday against Dallas and was pulled after giving up four goals.

Sunday, a turnover from Marc Staal led to a breakaway goal and Bobrovsky also gave up a deflected puck in which he made the initial stop.

Florida is doing a lot of good things on the other side of the ice, keeping the puck deep in the zone for long periods of time.

When the puck is not going in — but the opposition is scoring on much fewer chances — it is only natural for that to be a little demoralizing.

With Boston visiting on Wednesday, the Panthers are going to need everything to go right in order to snap this losing streak.

It starts in net.

PANTHERS ON DECK

BOSTON BRUINS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise 
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Season Series: Boston 5, Florida 3 (Oct. 17)
  • Last season: Boston won 2-1
  • All-time regular season series: Boston leads 59-36-6, 6 ties

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