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Sergei Bobrovsky Ready to Lead Florida Panthers against Rangers



Sergei Bobrovsky makes a save during the third period in Florida’s 2-1 win over the host Boston Bruins in Game 6 on Friday night. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

For the second straight year, Sergei Bobrovsky has helped the Florida Panthers make it to the Eastern Conference final.

If he repeats his performance from last year’s sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes, Bobrovsky and the Panthers will be headed back to the Stanley Cup Final.

That, however, is a pretty tall order.

Bobrovsky was otherworldly against the Hurricanes in last year’s East final.

In the four-game sweep, Bobrovsky gave up just over a goal per game (1.12) and stopped 97 percent of the shots faced.

Bobrovsky also had a shutout in Game 3.

Is he up to the task?

The Panthers believe so.

Hey, they have seen it before.

Bobrovsky says he is ready to go.

“It’s going to be a good challenge,” Bobrovsky said of the Rangers following Monday’s practice. “They have a good offense, a good defense. It’s going to be fun. … This is a new game, a new opponent. You do not know what you’re going to face. It could be 30, 20, 10 shots. At the end of the day, it does not matter. We know our structure.”

Bobrovsky’s fortunes in South Florida turned last year when, after getting sick and losing the net to Alex Lyon, took it back in the middle of the Boston first-round series and helped the Panthers to the next round.

Then, Bobrovsky really got on a roll.

After 3-plus years of inconsistent play with the Panthers after signing what was, at the time, the richest contract in franchise history, Bobrovsky became the goalie the team hoped it was getting in 2019.

Since that Boston series last year, Bobrovsky has been money in the Florida net.

“I would say, out of everyone on the team, I am happiest for his success,’’ Matthew Tkachuk said. “He just works so hard. Coming to Florida, they were a very high offensive team. We were getting a lot, but giving up a lot. When we started to tighten up a little bit, you could see how much confidence he started to build. He is probably as good as he has been in his career.”

Bobrovsky came up big in Florida’s series win over the Bruins in the second round, holding Boston to a single goal in Florida’s 2-1 win in Game 6.

Bobrovsky was under siege in the final minutes of that game and came up with a number of high-end saves.

Now, it’s time to go in the Garden.

Game 1 is Wednesday against the Rangers.

“I enjoy the position I am in,” Bobrovsky said. “I thank God for the opportunity I am in, to be able to play hockey for this team is a privilege. Being here and playing playoff hockey is a dream.”

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

  • When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • National TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule — Game 1: Panthers at Rangers, Wednesday, 8 (ESPN); Game 2: Panthers at Rangers, Friday 8 (ESPN); Game 3: Rangers at Panthers, Sunday May 26, 3 (ABC); Game 4: Rangers at Panthers, Tuesday May 28, 8 (ESPN): Game 5*: Panthers at Rangers, Thursday May 30, 8 (ESPN); Game 6*: Rangers at Panthers, Saturday June 1, 8 (ABC); Game 7*: Panthers at Rangers, Monday June 3, 8 (ESPN). (*) — If Necessary.
  • Second Round, Florida d. Boston 4-2 — Game 1: Boston 5, @Florida 1; Game 2: @Florida 6, Boston 1; Game 3: Florida 6, @Boston 2; Game 4: Florida 3, @Boston 2; Game 5: Boston 2, @Florida 1; Game 6: Florida 2, @Boston 1.
  • How They Got Here: Florida d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2; Rangers d. Washington 4-0, Carolina 4-2.
  • Last Season vs. Rangers — Regular Season: Rangers won 3-0
  • This Season (Panthers Won 2-1) — At Florida: Panthers 4 Rangers 3 (Dec. 29). At MSG: Panthers 4, Rangers 2 (March 4); Rangers 4, Panthers 3 OT (March 23).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Rangers lead 61-34-8, 6 ties
  • Postseason History: Rangers Lead 1-0 (1997 1st)

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