NHL News

Bobrovsky again comes up big for Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky used to have a reputation as an excellent regular-season goalie who flopped in the playoffs.

This postseason, Bobrovsky — and the Blue Jackets — are changing the narrative.

Bobrovsky propelled the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 series lead over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, turning away 36 of 37 shots in a 2-1 win in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference second-round game.

“He’s played that well,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “I think if teams find their way in winning games like this, playoff games where the teams so evenly matched, throughout it surges both ways, your goaltender has to be your best player. And he has been.”

Prior to this postseason, Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, went 5-14 in the playoffs, with a GAA of 3.49 and save percentage of .891. This postseason? He’s 6-1, with a 1.88 GAA and .937 save percentage. After sweeping the NHL’s top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, Columbus is in the second round for the first time in franchise history.

Bobrovsky, 30, becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. After not reaching an extension with the Blue Jackets during the season, it is believed that Bobrovsky will test the free-agent market.

The 19,337 fans at Nationwide Arena chanted Bobrovsky’s name during the third period on Tuesday, and the goaltender said he heard the positive affirmation and called it “really cool.”

“I want to be in the moment, to enjoy this moment,” Bobrovsky said. “And just play hockey and have fun with hockey. With the unbelievable support from our fans, the atmosphere is crazy. It’s so much fun to play.”

Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets have silenced Boston’s most potent offensive threats, limiting Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak to just one goal in three games so far this series.

One of Bobrovsky’s biggest saves came in the second period on Tuesday; after a Boston shot from the point, there was traffic in front of Bobrovsky and he sprawled across the net like a snow angel, lying on his back and shoving the puck away with his left glove outstretched behind his back.

“Quite honestly, I didn’t think,” Bobrovsky said. “I just fell. I didn’t see the puck, I was on my back, and if I felt the puck might be there, maybe not, so I just tried to cover the little part of the ice.”

Game 4 is in Columbus on Thursday.

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