When the Florida Panthers took a two-week break in the middle of their season, some wondered how good the timing for this time off would be.
Florida, after all, was riding one of the top hot streaks in franchise history.
For Sergei Bobrovsky, the time off was certainly looked at as a benefit. For a goalie who carries as much of the load as Bobrovsky does, having 16 days in between games in the middle of a season can be nothing but helpful.
His batteries certainly look charged.
Since returning from the break, Bobrovsky has surrendered just four goals to two of the top teams in the league. Florida had locked down on its defensive play, sure, but Bobrovsky has looked exceptionally sharp.
Upon returning from Florida’s last hiatus back in December, Bobrovsky has been simply outstanding.
He has won 13 of 14 starts since the Panthers returned from Christmas, he recorded his first shutout since 2019 and has given up two goals or fewer in eight of those starts.
Bobrovsky will start again Sunday afternoon in Chicago riding a five-game personal winning streak.
“It is nice to be back, nice to be competing with the boys again,” Bobrovsky said after making 24 saves in a 6-2 win at Minnesota on Friday night. “We were lucky with our schedule, it was nice to have a few days off to regenerate, reset your mind a little bit before the most important part of the season.
“The schedule is good for us and I love to be there with the guys. This has been great.”
The Panthers, as anyone who watches hockey even a little bit knows, has one of the top offensive teams the NHL has seen in some time.
Florida not only leads the NHL in scoring this season, but they are scoring goals on teams not used to giving up a lot of goals.
Sometimes the exceptional play of Bobrovsky gets lost amid the offensive fireworks.
But with 33 games remaining before the playoffs, the Panthers know they need Bobrovsky to be at the top of his game down the stretch.
Florida wants to go into the postseason holding a top seed and Bobrovsky is working on playing at his best going into the NHL’s real season come April.
With two inconsistent seasons with the Panthers behind him, Bobrovsky has looked like the goalie Florida signed to the biggest contract (at the time) in franchise history.
The Panthers can kill you with the puck — and can do it to you without it as well.
“He seems dialed in and that’s a tribute to him and the preparation he does for each game,” coach Andrew Brunette said.
“He gears himself up for this time of year so credit to him.”