July 19, 2024

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has day off from practice


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On the next-to-last day of the NHL season, Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t on the ice for practice.

The Panthers are sure that’s a good thing.

Bobrovsky was a serious Conn Smythe Award candidate at one point in this Stanley Cup Final that ends with Game 7 on Monday night, with Florida winning the first three games and the Edmonton Oilers basically rendered silent by the Panthers’ goaltender. But in the past three games, Edmonton’s offense has exploded and Bobrovsky’s numbers look horrific — a 5.06 goals-against average and a .793 save percentage.

“It’s definitely not his fault,” Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said Sunday. “I think that’s up to us to tighten up defensively, get off to better starts. We’ve been trailing in each of the last three games, which might open you up a little bit and cost you more chances against. So, we have to be a lot better in front of him. And we will tomorrow. It’s definitely, definitely not his fault. Absolutely not.”

Bobrovsky has a very regimented schedule and won’t take the ice every day in the playoffs, whether it’s Round 1 or the last off day before the last game of Round 4.

Panthers coach Paul Maurice said he thought Bobrovsky looked solid in Game 6, when Florida lost 5-1. Two of those Edmonton goals were empty-netters.

“We were kind to him; we didn’t give him a short-handed breakaway to start the game,” Maurice said. “I thought that was good of us. We cut down on those for him and gave him a chance. We’ll try that again tomorrow.”



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