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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Sergei Bobrovsky: ‘Incredible’ Save Helps Panthers Beat Lightning

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Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky makes an unreal stop on a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Dumba during the second period of Game 2 on Tuesday night in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — Sergei Bobrovsky bailed the Florida Panthers out when they needed him to the most.

Again.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were inches away from taking the lead late in the second period after erasing a two-goal deficit in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

Matt Dumba appeared to have a wide open net in front of him with Bobrovsky down and out with his back to the play.

Only Bobrovsky dove backward in desperation and turned away the puck away with his forearm.

The game stayed tied at 2 — with Carter Verhaeghe winning it for the Panthers in overtime.

Florida’s 3-2 win gives it a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Game 3 is Thursday in Tampa.

“On the first shot, he missed the net and then on the second one, I was a little bit late and behind the play,” Bobrovsky said.  “It was desperation to try to throw as much of my body and I was able to make the save.”

Even his teammates have not seen anything like it.

“No,” veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson said when asked if he had. “That was unbelievable. We know that he can make those saves, but that was something else.”

Added Aaron Ekblad: “My vantage point was the bench in shock. It was incredible. You love to see it.”

It was a boost that Panthers bench desperately needed at that point.

Florida had taken a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to some terrific play from Sam Bennett — who left the game in the second with an apparent hand injury.

Maurice did not have an update on Bennett’s status after the game.

Bennett scored off a nice backhanded shot in the slot off a Mathew Tkachuk rebound, then fed Vladimir Tarasenko on the power play.

Only Tampa Bay scored a pair of goals early in the second to tie things up.

Bobrovsky’s big save was one of only 21 — but it was one everyone was talking about.

And will continue to do so.

“We have an amazing guy in the net,’’ captain Sasha Barkov said. “I saw it and will probably see it for the rest of my life somewhere. That’s what he does. You cannot explain it.”

Florida has now won 11 straight overtime games in the playoffs dating back to Ryan Lomberg’s Game 3 winner in Tampa in 2021.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has lost 11 of 12 overtime playoff games — including its past six.

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

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (WC1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1)
PANTHERS LEAD BEST-OF-7 SERIES 2-0
GAME 3
  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa 
  • Local TV/National TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/TBS/HBOMax
  • Radio: 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
  • First Round (Panthers Lead 1-0) — Game 1: Panthers 3, Lightning 2; Game 2: Florida 3, Tampa Bay 2 OT; Game 3: Thursday at Tampa Bay, 7 (BSF, TBS); Game 4: Saturday at Tampa Bay, 5 (BSF, TBS, TruTV); Game 5*: Monday at Florida, TBA (BSF, TBA); Game 6*: Wednesday at Tampa Bay, TBA (BSF, TBA); Game 7*: Saturday May 4 at Florida, TBA (BSF, TBA). (*) — If necessary
  • 2023-24 Regular Season Series (Panthers Won 2-1) — At Tampa Bay: Panthers 3, Lightning 2 (Dec. 27)Panthers 9, Lightning 2 (Feb. 17). At Florida: Lightning 5, Panthers 3 (March 16).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 77-51-19, 10 ties
  • All-Time Postgame Series: Lightning Leads 2-0 (2021 first-round, 2022 ECS)

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