Sergei Bobrovsky continues to play on another level.
In previous playoff appearances for the Columbus Blue Jackets, too much leaning on their elite goaltender would cause him to bend and break. This postseason, however, is a different story.
In the Blue Jackets' first loss of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday night at TD Garden, Bobrovsky was the best player on the ice. He stopped 34 shots and held the Blue Jackets in the game after a disastrous opening period, and they emerged from those 20 minutes down only 1-0. It could've been much worse.
The shots weren't softballs, either, especially in the first period. Bobrovsky stopped four shots that were considered high-danger chances in the first 20 minutes, and 8-of-9 overall.
After eight days off, the Blue Jackets' entire game was sluggish and they were far from their best in Game 1. The Bruins, fresh off a Game 7 victory over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, used their momentum to hound Bobrovsky early on.
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner stood tall and gave his club a chance throughout the game. Even though his performance ultimately ended in an overtime loss, his three-week run of stellar form (dating back to the end of the regular season) shows that he is ready to carry this team on his back.
If the Blue Jackets can get their team game back on track Saturday night, they'll be in better shape given the level that Bobrovsky's at right now.