Whether it came from the mental strain of being in a contract year or can be boiled down to the highs and lows of modern goaltending, the bottom line was that Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t himself to start this season.
Through his first six appearances of 2018-19, Bobrovsky allowed eight goals once, four goals in another game, three on three occasions, and two in another contest. For a goalie who’s been all-world during the regular season for some time now, it’s not too surprising that John Tortorella felt that Bob wasn’t being Bob.
Well, what about Bob now?
After Monday’s tight 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars, Bobrovsky’s done an about-face in his past six games. He’s kept opponents to a single goal in five of those six contests, including three games in a row.
A hot goalie can often make the difference between wins and losses, such as when Bob stopped Jason Spezza point-blank to preserve Monday’s regulation victory:
Torts and others have noticed that Bobrovsky has been spot-on, including in that win against Dallas.
“He was really good tonight,” Tortorella said, via the AP. “They had some point-blank chances on some of our breakdowns, and he looked in control.”
Maybe it all turned around on Nov. 1, when Bobrovsky only allowed one Sharks goal despite facing a barrage of 45 shots.
Whatever the case may be, this is a fantastic sign both for the team and the goalie. If it wasn’t already obvious that the Blue Jackets need Bobrovsky to get that extra edge most nights, note that seemingly promising backup Joonas Korpisalo has really struggled so far this season, managing a lousy .875 save percentage over seven games.
A keyed-in Bobrovsky could cost the Blue Jackets that much more money if the two sides agree to a contract behind this season, but when you consider the potential pitfalls of him walking away or being traded, maybe that’s a good problem to have?
After all, it sounds like they won’t have that same say with Artemi Panarin.