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Panthers Pregame: Bobrovsky back in groove, faces Avalanche

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Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will start Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche after making 21 saves in a 3-1 win at Arizona on Friday night. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

After one of the best starts in his storied career, Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and his numbers started to take a dip.

Friday night against Arizona, Bobrovsky looked a lot like he did in the first two months of the season.

Bobrovsky was calm, cool and did not battle the puck in a 3-1 win over the Coyotes.

“He was excellent,’’ Andrew Brunette said. “You can tell a lot of times when he is zoned in and I thought he was zoned in tonight.”

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Although his numbers were not all that impressive — Bobrovsky only faced 23 shots — the shot selection the desperate Coyotes threw at him in the third were all answered and it led to another Panthers win.

“We could say this every night: He is lights out,” Sam Bennett said. “He gives us confidence and he gives us energy. He is playing unbelievable right now.”

In his first 10 games, Bobrovsky not only went 8-0-2 but he gave up two goals or fewer in eight of them.

Prior to playing Arizona, he gave up at least three goals in five of his past six games.

“I thought guys did a great job,’’ Bobrovsky said. “We scored two goals right away that gave us a lead and this was a big win for us. Every win is big but this one was not an easy road trip. This was huge.”

On Sunday, Bobrovsky will be back in net and will face a stiff test against a resurgent Colorado team which is still the Stanley Cup betting favorite — even with the Panthers atop the NHL standings.

Colorado has scored seven games in each of its past three games. Not only is that a franchise record, but the Avs are the first team to accomplish that in 25 years.

“We have to have a checking mentality,” coach Andrew Brunette said Saturday. “I thought we played with one in the third period (Friday).

“They come in waves, sort of like we do, and we had a fun game early in the season. It was entertaining — perhaps not for the coaches — but for the fans and the players. Two good teams. We’ll see how we do.”

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT COLORADO AVALANCHE

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