Bobrovsky Shutout Gives Cats 3-0 Series Lead Over Hurricanes

Florida Panthers Canes

Photo by JC Ruiz

Sunrise, FL – Sergei Bobrovsky’s first playoff shutout of his career has the Florida Panthers on the brink of the Stanley Cup Final after a thrilling 1-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday.

It’s Been a While

Party like it’s 1996 again! We have waited 27 years for this moment. The Cats are playing in their first Eastern Conference Final game on home ice since 1996. Back then it was a little further down south at the old Miami Arena. Although the venue has changed, the excitement is the same as it was back then. The Panthers won the first two games of this series on the road. Matthew Tkachuk provided the heroics in both games, scoring first in quadruple overtime to end Game One, and then again in single overtime to win Game Two. He would factor in tonight’s win as well.

1st Period

Canes came out with more fight than the Celtics in a similar situation last night. They tried to impose their physical will on the Cats early. Things started getting chippy early. They even tried to provoke the Cats into a couple of fights but these Cats were not having any of it.

Sam Bennett came through with a huge hit in the 11th minute in front of Bob, stopping a potential opportunity for the Canes. After the first 20 minutes the Panthers had nine shots on goal to Carolinas seven. They also had the better chances. Bob was still in his insane playoff form to start this game. You could feel it early that he was in the zone. All Florida needed was just one goal and Bob could take care of the rest.

Canes had a decent look when they intercepted a pass in the zone that lead to a one-on-one with Bob, which the big Russian deflected away for the huge save. The Ice Cats penalty kill was fantastic in the period and on the night. They killed off penalties with no real struggle.

2nd Period

Canes again started the period with a couple of good looks in the first few minutes. They kept Bob on his toes. However, the Cats opened the scoring when Sam Reinhart took a pass from Matthew Tkachuk, turned around, then went top shelf past Frederik Andersen to make it 1-0 at 10:05. Reinhart’s goal was his team-leading third power-play goal of the postseason and would be all the offensive support that Bobrovsky would need on the night.


3rd Period

A couple of big Bob saves opened the period. The first half of the period flew by with hardly any stoppage in action. It was very fluid on both ends with both teams showing why they should be here. The Canes continued to press looking for the equalizer. In the third period the Canes led 21-8 in shot attempts, 9-3 in scoring chances, and 11-2 in shots on goal, but couldn’t convert. The Canes go down 1-0 and now trail the series 3-0. For the second consecutive series, the Panthers have a three games to zero lead.

The Cats will now try to punch their ticket to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1996, when they try to eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at FLA Live Arena on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Post Game Nuggies

Sergei Bobrovsky gets his first Stanley Cup Playoff shutout. His 132 SV are the most saves by a goaltender through the first three games of a Conference Final/Semifinals series (since 1955-56).

The last time the Cats played in a 1-0 playoff game was Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final vs. Colorado. The number one song this week in 1996 was “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

Florida is now 7-0 when scoring first this postseason.

In the second period we got news that Barkov was questionable to return with a lower body injury. He did not return to the game.

The Panthers have now been involved in seven straight games that were decided by one goal.

Photo | JC Ruiz

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