Panthers’ Bobrovsky Has Been Stellar Between the Pipes This Season

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When the Florida Panthers went out and signed then-unrestricted free agent two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal back on July 1, 2019, a lot was expected of the Russian goaltender.

Bobrovsky, 35, was expected to get the Panthers into the Stanley Cup playoffs regularly and do so by putting up great numbers. While he did get his team into the postseason in his first three seasons, his numbers were not great, and it looked like the signing was a big bust.

That sentiment changed in last year’s postseason. Not only did the Panthers get to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 27 years, but Bobrovsky was the main reason why they got so far.

In the playoffs last year, Bobrovsky was 12-6 with a 2.78 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage, and one shutout. Had the Panthers managed to beat the Vegas Golden Knights, there is no doubt that Bobrovsky would have added a Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in the postseason to his resume.

It appears that Bobrovsky has carried his strong play from last year’s playoffs into this season. His strong play between the pipes has led the Panthers to a record of 20-12-2 for 42 points (good for second in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the league) going into his team’s game against the New York Rangers on Friday night, December 29th.

For starters, Bobrovsky’s statistics this season are more than solid. He is currently (as of Friday night, December 29th) 16-9-01 with a 2.48 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and two shutouts.

This has not always been the case in the regular season during his time with the Panthers. His numbers in the 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2022-23 regular seasons were not great, so the regular season that Bobrovsky is having right now for the Panthers is an improvement.

Secondly, Bobrovsky is playing with a ton of confidence. He is making timely saves, not allowing as many soft goals, and he is showing the Panthers and their fans why he was more than a worthy investment.

A big reason why he is playing with so much confidence is because of the way he played in the postseason last year. Even though he has been in the league for a very long time, last year’s playoff performance was a rebirth for Bobrovsky, and he has carried that mentality into this season.

Another reason why Bobrovsky is playing so well is because he is having fun. Before this season, there was a lot of pressure placed on him because of the amount of money the franchise is giving him and because he needed to show that he can play at a high level when it matters most.

That is all behind him now. Bobrovsky took them to a Cup Final and was brilliant in doing so. Yes, both he and the team came up short, but there is no doubt that Bobrovsky earned every penny with his unbelievable play between the pipes in last year’s playoffs.

If the Panthers continue to have success and make another run in the postseason this year, it will be because of the great play from Bobrovsky.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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