Sergei Bobrovsky worked hard in the offseason to improve his flexibility and eliminate the groin issues that plagued him in 2015-16, and the result was a spectacular campaign that saw him lead all starting netminders in GAA and save percentage while bringing home his second Vezina Trophy in five seasons. Still only 28 years old, Goalie Bob is the backbone of the Blue Jackets' ascent to contender status, and while a young and rapidly improving blue line corps deserves plenty of credit for the work they did in front of him, he supplied more than his share of big saves. Unless he has trouble staying healthy once again, there's no reason to expect any kind of regression from Bobrovsky this year.
Bobrovsky won his second career Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender for the 2016-17 season. This is the second time in five years Bobrovsky has won the award, and he did it by leading all starters with a .931 save percentage and 2.06 GAA, forming the backbone of a resurgent Blue Jackets squad. He's just the sixth goalie in history to win the award at least twice, and the second to do so in the cap era since Martin Brodeur and Tim Thomas. Bobrovsky was a big reason why the Jackets improved 32 points in the standings, and the team has a bright future ahead with Calder Trophy nominee Zach Werenski and young star Seth Jones patrolling the blue line. Bobrovsky has been bothered by groin injuries in the past, but when healthy, he's among the league's best goalies.
Bobrovsky will not be at the IIHF World Championship, Sergey Demidov of Russia's NHL.com reports. Simply put, Bob needs to rest. He represented Russia at the World Cup of Hockey, logged a career-high 63 regular-season starts, and endured a grueling playoff round with the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins -- losing in five games . Also, we shouldn't forget that Bobrovsky dealt with groin issues before hiring a new conditioning coach ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. Top Tampa tender Andrei Vasilevskiy reportedly will be the No. 1 goalie for Russia at Worlds.
Bobrovsky allowed five goals on 37 shots in Thursday's series-clinching Game 5 loss to Pittsburgh. The Jackets staved off a sweep on home ice by eking out a Game 4 win, but Bobrovsky was under fire all series long, and he was never truly able to contain the Penguins. Still, he'll be among the top contenders for the Vezina Trophy after his spectacular regular season, which featured 41 wins with a 2.06 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Bobrovsky will get the starting nod for Thursday's Game 5 clash with the Penguins, Wes Crosby of NHL.com reports. Even though Bobrovsky came away with the win in Game 4, his performance was still underwhelming, as he gave up four goals on 31 shots -- an .871 save percentage. For the series, the netminder has logged a 3.61 GAA after facing 138 shots. If the 28-year-old can't find a higher compete level, it could be lights out for Columbus on Thursday.
Bobrovsky made 27 saves to beat the Penguins 5-4 in Tuesday's Game 4. Bobrovsky has been a major disappointment in this series with 15 goals allowed in four games. He was able to hold Pittsburgh off the board until Columbus had established a 3-0 lead early in the second period, then did just enough to earn his third playoff win in 17 appearances. The Russian netminder will need to find the form that saw him post a 2.06 GAA and .931 save percentage during the regular season for his team to have any chance of coming all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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