Regardless of Outcome, Sergei Bobrovsky Has Proven Himself As A Legitimate Playoff Goaltender

By Dan Dukart on April 23, 2018 at 12:22 pm
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
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Before the series, we profiled Sergei Bobrovsky in an effort to show how, aside from the obvious pressures that come along with playing goalie in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bobrovsky has a lot to prove in the postseason.

Though the Blue Jackets find themselves trailing in this series, it's not because of the play of Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky's .912 save percentage is pretty average for NHL netminders this playoff, higher than Matt Murray, Devan Dubnyk, and Tuukka Rask, to name a few. Braden Holtby, his Washington Capitals counterpart, is at .936, for reference.   

Worth noting is that, though other series have played six games, no goalie has played more minutes than Bobrovsky's 358. He's seen a lot of rubber and, all things considered, done pretty well. 

And while the .912 save percentage isn't as good as his regular season numbers (career .920, 2017-18 .921) the Game 4 overtime loss was a good example of a game where, despite giving up four goals, it's hard to pin the blame on the Russian goaltender.

The first goal against was a complete fluke, as Nicklas Backstrom's centering pass hit Bobrovsky's stick, and with some serious backspin, popped up in the air. David Savard didn't help by crowding his goalie, but it was out of instinct. 

The second goal came on a three-on-one fast break on a completely inexcusable line change by the Blue Jackets. Not only that, but Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, and Tom Wilson, the Capitals entire first line, were the players Bobrovsky had the pleasure of facing. He managed to get a piece of it, and would tell you that he should have stopped it, but it's impossible to blame a goalie for that. 

The third goal came on a one-time blast on a power play off the stick of John Carlson. TJ Oshie made a masterful tip. Bobrovsky, like any other goalie in the NHL, had no chance.

The same can be said on the OT game-winner from Backstrom, who tipped a shoulder-high shot down between his pads.

Would Bobrovsky like to have stopped a goal or two in there? Sure, but in the mean time, he made two incredible saves on Ovechkin. 

Historically, Bobrovsky has been a sub-par playoff performer. But he's solidified his reputation in these playoffs, even though his club finds itself on the brink of elimination. 

Hopefully, we see vintage regular season Bobrovsky in a win-or-go-home Game 6 tonight at Nationwide Arena.

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