It is no surprise, but Joel Quenneville confirmed Sergei Bobrovsky would start for the Panthers in Game 4 against the Lightning on Saturday afternoon.
Bobrovsky replaced Chris Dreidger to start the third and looked calm and collected as he stopped nine shots over his 25:56 of work to give the Panthers a chance.
The Panthers eventually won 6-5 in overtime off a Ryan Lomberg goal. The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 today at 12:30 (BS-FLA, CNBC).
Quenneville praised Bobrovsky’s handling of being passed over to start Games 2 and 3.
Some wondered whether Bobrovsky, who is used to being The Guy, would check out upon being sat.
But that did not appear to be the case, at least from the outside looking in.
Bobrovsky looked focused in the practices in which he wasn’t starting and Quenneville said he was locked in and fired up about going in when told during the second intermission.
“I’ve got to commend Bob on how he handled it right off the get-go,” Quenneville said on Friday afternoon.
“It was definitely a tough decision (going with Driedger). We know him very well. Robb Tallas works with Bob every day and knows him inside-and-out.”
Quenneville said that Bobrovsky was good about a “shared partnership” in net with Driedger throughout the season and knew that, going into the playoffs, the Panthers were in a “we’ll see” frame of mind.
“This year, it was not just Bob,” Quenneville said. “Driedge did a good job. Last night was one you learn from. But Bob was excited about the challenge when he went into the game. I don’t know that I have ever seen him happier than he was after the game.
“Things change quickly in our business, especially the goaltending position. We know how important it is and you can compound that by 10 in the playoffs.”
PANTHERS BREAKFAST LINKS
Lomberg did not get much playing time for the Panthers earlier this season, but once he cracked the lineup and showed he had something the team needed, he has been a part of the mix ever since.
When he was signed as a free agent in October, GM Bill Zito predicted Panthers fans were going to love him. They do. (FHN)
— ‘The Lomborghini’ goes on with Hochman & Crowder. (790/560)
— So does ‘The Goldie.’ (790/560)
— ‘The Red Deer’ chats it up with Zaslow & Amber. (790)
— So, who aside from Bobrovsky is in the lineup today? Check out our intense GameDay preview which includes an update on Sasha Barkov as well as Quenneville’s thoughts on having to scratch Keith Yandle on Thursday night. (FHN)
— Those may have been the biggest nine saves of Bobrovsky’s career in Florida the other night. (FHN)
— Steve Gorten looks at the unlikely hero of Game 3. (FHN)
— The NHL goes for 10 questions with the Panthers. (NHL)
— The Athletic makes its playoff picks for the day. Get your bets in. (TA)
AROUND THE NHL
The Nashville Predators got into their series with Carolina on Friday, winning in double overtime.
Rod Brind’Amour ain’t happy, folks. (Raleigh News-Observer)
— Who had the Winnipeg Jets taking a 2-0 lead in Edmonton? (SN)
— John Tavares is resting at home and reaching out to his Toronto teammates. (TSN)
— The Bruins took a commanding 3-1 series lead after thumping the Capitals on Friday night. The Caps look done and done. (Boston Hockey Now)
— The Islanders may be making a goaltending change. (NY Islanders Hockey Now)
— Nazem Kadri is going miss him some games. (Colorado Hockey Now)
The Miami Heat are going to start its opening-round playoff series in Milwaukee, but the good folks in Dade are looking to open up the Triple-A to near capacity levels.
Per the Miami Herald, the Heat will allow up to 17,000 for Game 3.
Got to think the Panthers will be releasing some more Game 5 tickets soon.
— Speaking of the Heaters, Game 1 is at 2 today. Don’t know what else is going on at that time, but I know I will be watching basketball! (MH)
— The Doral Firebirds will play for the state softball championship today. Good luck to pitcher Alyssa Zabala and her proud papa Luis of CBS-4. (MH)
— The Marlins used 10 pitchers against the Mets on Friday. Wasn’t enough. (MH)