The Florida Panthers have struggled as of late, but their goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has played lights out, giving them a chance in virtually every game.
For years, the Florida Panthers have never had a consistent enough goaltender who could keep them afloat in the majority of their games.
Essentially, goaltending was their problem, which prevented them from winning close games. However, this year, that problem has been diminished and can no longer be considered an issue, thanks to netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
After signing a seven-year deal worth $10M annually in Sunrise, Florida, there were critics who labeled the signing as a bad one, citing the price as too much.
While his price tag comes in at second-most for all goaltenders across the league (sitting just behind Carey Price), he’s already shown that his play matches his worth.
Despite a slow start to the season for the Cats (1-2-2), Bobrovsky has kept the Panthers in a multitude of games that they either had no business winning or being in.
Unfortunately, the Panthers have only won one game, which came against their in-state rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bobrovsky was not only the star of that outing but he was the sole reason why the Panthers claimed two points by the end of it.
Florida did get off to a good start, jumping to an unexpected three-goal lead in the second. But after they were up 4-1, the team took their foots off the pedal, causing for a scare late in the game.
The Bolts managed to rally a couple in response, trimming their three-goal deficit down to one. Without Bobrovsky standing tall and strong, the Panthers would unquestionably be without a win as we currently speak.
Even while up throughout the course of the game, Bobrovsky ensured that there was no chance that Tampa were able to get back leveled in this one.
Steven Stamkos sends Kucherov a clean, one-time pass in his direction, which Kucherov gets perfect contact on with a half wide-open cage in sight.
To his surprise, Bobrovsky slides from the direct opposite post over to Kucherov’s side to make the sprawling glove save. It was surely a highlight-reel moment for Bobrovsky, but it was also a game-defining moment that led to the Panthers’ only victory.
Apart from the embarrassing 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes, Bobrovsky has played well enough in every game that he’s started in, giving Florida a chance to win.
Unfortunately, his defense have let him down, leaving him to dry on several occasions. His .882 SV%, while ugly, doesn’t truly reflect how well he’s played thus far and lies at the hands of his D rather than his own play.
With a tidier defense core in front of him, will surely lead to more wins in result. Realistically speaking, goaltending, for once, does not remain the problem. The problem is on the blue line.
If the Panthers can figure out how to defend more efficiently and minimize mistakes in their own zone, then you’ll start to see a rise in the standings.
Until then, the same results will continue to appear if the Panthers fail to tighten up defensively in front of goal – no matter how solid Bobrovsky has been.
Many questioned whether Sergei Bobrovsky deserved to receive the pay day that he got on July 1st. Well, so far, he does, and has played lights out in three out of the four games he’s started.