Bobrovsky getting hot at the right time
This is exactly the case for Columbus Blue Jackets' Vezina Trophy winning netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. With his club currently three points ahead of the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, Bobrovsky's strong play between the pipes has the team right where they want to be heading into the last week of the season.
In four games last week, Bobrovsky, 25, went 2-1-1 and while his record may not show it, he performed more than admirably between the pipes for his hockey club. He stopped 127 of 134 shots for a .947 save percentage while also picking up two shutouts against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, respectively.
The Blue Jackets are a young team on the rise and in order to be successful and get into the playoffs, they need clutch goaltending from Bobrovsky. There was no doubt that in his team's 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last Thursday night, Bobrovsky went above and beyond the call of duty.
In that tilt, Bobrovsky came up with several big saves, shut the door when the Flyers were putting on a ton of pressure in the second and third periods. In those two periods, the Flyers finished with a combined 27 shots and Bobrovsky turned them all way and was able to help his team preserve both a 1-0 and 2-0 lead.
In his team's regulation loss to the Chicago Blackhawks the following night, the man they call "Bob" stood on his head in stopping 34 of 38 shots. He did everything he could on the Blackhawks' game-winning goal with just four seconds to go, but unfortunately for Bobrovsky, his defense could not clear the loose puck out of the crease before Ben Smith poked it through.
Bobrovsky also came through for his team last night in his club's 4-0 win over the New York Islanders. Yes, the Islanders have been one of the league's worst teams this season, but nevertheless, Bobrovsky came up with a big 31-save effort for his fifth shutout of the season.
While the Blue Jackets need to continue to get this kind of goaltending from their Russian netminder, the truth of the matter is that they have been getting just that from Bobrovsky all season long. In a career high 55 games this year, Bobrovsky is 29-20-5 with a 2.41 goals against average, a .922 save percentage and five shutouts.
With four games left to play this season between now and Sunday, the Blue Jackets are going to need to continue to get steady play from Bobrovsky if they want to hold on to one of the two wild card spots and make the postseason for only the second time in franchise history.