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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Sergei Bobrovsky: Lack of Action Actually Not Easy on Panthers Goalie



Sam Bennett celebrates Florida’s 6-2 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 3 on Friday night. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Sergei Bobrovsky has spent lots of time in this playoff series between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins waiting on something to happen.

At least he has a great seat for the game.

Florida’s stifling defensive game has led to Bobrovsky not seeing much action in many playoff games.

That may be a good thing for the Panthers, but it is oddly tough on a goalie.

Bobrovsky, as have many others NHL goalies, says he would rather be consistently facing shots in a game than going long stretches without seeing anything.

That is exactly what has been going on in this series as Boston has, on a number of occasions, gone more than 10 minutes at a time without a single shot on goal.

Florida allowed just 15 shots in Wednesday’s 6-1 win over the Bruins, which was a franchise record.

Friday, the Bruins got off 16.

The Panthers beat Boston 6-2 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

“It’s a hard game,” coach Paul Maurice said before Game 3, one in which Bobrovsky only faced eight shots through the first 40 minutes.

“Four or five of the [playoff] games have been incredibly tough for Sergei to play. The first three first periods of the Tampa series, there was no work.

“But it’s still Tampa Bay. They win a face-off and have three straight shots and score — but he had been sitting for eight minutes. That’s a veteran goalies’ ability. He has been good. I don’t think the games have been easy on him at all. But he has some skill on him. We have gone stretches where … both teams play good defense. There are stretches where nothing happens, then you have Pastrnak coming down the pipe and it is hard. I don’t know why you would let your kid play goal. It’s crazy.”

Bobrovsky certainly had to be on his toes in the third period on Friday.

After Brandon Montour made it 4-0 with Florida’s third power-play goal of the night, Boston got to it.

The Bruins, who had seven high-danger chances in the first two periods, ripped off goals on consecutive shots — Nos. 9 and 10.

Suddenly, fans at the Garden turned their boos into throaty cheers and the Bruins were back in this thing.

Bobrovsky had to get back into his right frame of mind quickly.

“The third period,” Matthew Tkachuk said Friday, “was not how we want to play. Bob bailed us out a few times.”

Boston got a power play at 11:24 and looked to pull within a goal.

Bobrovsky handled the high pressure situation — with the help of a well-timed Dmitry Kulikov block — and snuffed out the power play with four saves.

Boston did not get closer than 4-2 despite almost doubling its high-danger totals with six in the period.

Florida got an empty-net goal from Sam Reinhart before Evan Rodrigues polished things off with the fourth power-play goal of the day and that, as they say, was that.

Bobrovsky ended with 14 saves for the second straight game — and is facing an average of 24 shots through eight playoff games this postseason.

That’s good work by the Panthers defense, regardless.

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