Ahead of the New York Islanders’ qualifying round series against the Florida Panthers, one of the biggest uncertainties for both teams is goaltending.
It’s something that over the last two seasons, has either sunk or propelled the Islanders during their season. However, the bigger question may be between the pipes for Florida, where we wait in anticipation to see which version of Sergei Bobrovksy shows up for the playoffs.
Despite being considered one of the league’s best goaltenders for almost a decade now, before last season, the playoffs were always an issue for Bobrovsky. It’s not like we’re going off a small sample size either. He had played in 24 playoff games prior to 2019, posting a terrible .891 save percentage and a 5-14 record in that time.
Last season, however, Bobrovsky went on an absolute tear in the playoffs, helping the underdog Columbus Blue Jackets to sweep the top team in the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning. He surprised everyone, posting an excellent .925 save percentage in the playoffs, by far the best numbers of his playoff career.
Now, it’s a matter of which Bobrovsky the Islanders will be facing in the qualifying round– and it’s likely to play a key role in the series. At his best, he was able to completely shut down the top team in the league last year. However, this was arguably the worst season of his career and if he resorts back to his old playoff form, it’ll be a disaster for the Panthers.
The fact is, we have no idea which version of Sergei Bobrovsky will show up in the qualifying round. Even if the odds are that he doesn’t repeat his playoff success from last year, Bobrovsky does have the potential to make a huge impact in the series if he’s at his best.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Does the potential of Sergei Bobrovsky being an x-factor in the series worry you at all?