The Oilers hope the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky can solve it

FT. Lauderdale, Fla. — Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky scores in a 3-0 Stanley Cup Final win over Edmonton. But those who think they can find ways to defeat him are optimistic.

“He’s a good goalie,” Edmonton star Leon Tricite said Sunday. “He’s going to make some big-time saves. That’s important to know. We’re always going to get our looks with our group. We’re always going to get opportunities. Just keep playing loose and play our game.”

Bobrovsky stopped all 32 shots he faced in Game 1. He held the line when the Panthers were outshot 12-4 in the first period. He made six saves on the penalty kill, where Florida went 3-for-3 and converted over 37% after three rounds of the playoffs. He set aside three Edmonton breakaways, including a bat stop on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to preserve the Florida lead.

Edmonton coach Chris Knoblauch won’t say Bobrovsky stole Game 1.

“It’s fair to say he played very well, but I think the only things we can do are within our control and that could have made our chances more,” he said. “He definitely made some big saves, but I think we missed some chances where we missed the net or didn’t get the shot we wanted.”

Knoblauch said he didn’t believe the Game 1 shutout would get to his players’ heads.

“We have to be in a position to get good quality scoring chances and sustain those chances. And if we play well, they will go our way,” he said. “Any goaltender playing against us, we’re going to get some production.”

See also  Horoscope for Sunday, April 28, 2024

One area the Oilers can improve on is their shot placement. Bobrovsky has given up 38 goals this season. Of those, 31 are on the high-glove or high-blocker side. He’s very under par and hasn’t given up a single 5-hole bogey in the playoffs.

“Obviously, you want to get it high and that’s your best chance,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who regretted not raising his breakout opportunity on Bobrowski. “He’s an athletic goalie, so he’s going to take out a lot of the bottom of the net. We had some looks where you’d think you got him, but he just didn’t give up.”

Bobrovsky was the main reason the Panthers didn’t score on the Oilers’ power play. They got a few looks, but the Florida goalie kept them clean.

“They have a great power play,” Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling said. “I think you can see how effective they are. We kept them outside and let Bob see Bob most of the time. So I think we’ll stick with that and keep pushing.”

Edmonton star Connor McDavid led his team with six shots on target. The playoffs’ leading scorer with 31 points, he was dangerous all night. But he couldn’t get past the Panthers’ last defense.

“He’s going to make plays and sometimes he’s going to hang on you,” Florida safety Nico Mikkola said. “But that’s why we have a Bobby.”

In other series news, the health of Oilers forward Evander Kane has been a topic of conversation. Kane was a minus-1 and, for the second straight game, did not attempt a shot on goal. In his last eight games, he has just one assist.

See also  Sequel Scores $180M Opening - The Hollywood Reporter

Kane has been dealing with sports hernia all season. He has tried to manage it by not training and skating too much on his days off.

“It doesn’t affect my upper body,” Kane said earlier in the playoffs. “Anyone who’s had that type of injury understands that a lot of skating, speed and agility can really take a toll on you.”

Knoblauch admitted that Kane was not himself.

“Obviously, he’s not the Evander Kane that he was two years ago, or even when I got here,” said the coach, who was hired last November. “He had a good season and hit at will. Then he had to take some time off with some injuries and maintenance days.”

Kane has 24 goals and 20 assists in 77 regular season games.

“Evander is good for our team,” Knoblach said. “He may not show up on the score sheet as much as he has in the past, but he still contributes to our team and I don’t think we would be where we are today if Evander hadn’t played throughout the playoffs.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *