Bobrovsky Guides Panthers to Win over Penguins

Bobrovsky Panthers Win Penguins

The Florida Panthers haven’t needed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to be the best player on the ice a whole lot this season. However, in their 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night, the Panthers got by with help from Big Save Bobrovsky.

“It was fun,” Bobrovsky said. “It was a great challenge. It wasn’t easy for us, but we stuck together, chipped away, and we found a way to get two points against a really good team.”

Bobrovsky made 26 saves and stopped seven of Pittsburgh’s eight high-danger shot attempts. One of those scary scoring opportunities came early in the second period. Bobrovsky had to get into a split to stop a breakaway shot from Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

Penguins forward Reilly Smith scored the first goal of the game a few minutes later on a centering pass from Evgeni Malkin. At that point, the Panthers had given themselves a few opportunities to score but were being shut out by Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. 

“Sergei had to be the difference in the second period because that game is over and there’s no coming back if he isn’t as good as he was,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said.

Maurice admitted the Panthers could have played better in the first couple of periods.

“It’s a hard thing to do in the NHL, is to not be where you want to be or playing the game you want and then be able to right it,” Maurice said. “The first period was more even than I would want. I think they might have been a little bit better than we were. When you’re home, you want to come out and kind of set the tone. I didn’t care for that second period.”

Late in the second period, the Panthers finally got on the board. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson poked in a puck that got loose during a scrum at the net to tie the game 1-1.

The third period saw the Panthers excel and play more to their style. Eetu Luostarinen notched the go-ahead goal with 13:50 left in the third. The Panthers never looked back.

Florida outshot Pittsburgh 13-5 in the final frame and killed off a penalty in the final two-and-a-half minutes. Aleksander Barkov scored an empty-net goal with 26.7 seconds to put the game on ice.

What’s next?

The Panthers will travel to Columbus on Sunday. Then, they head out west to play the Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames.

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