Sergei Bobrovsky leads Panthers to Game 1 victory over Oilers

    The Florida Panthers did what they do best, with netminder Sergei Bobrovsky leading the way. Meanwhile, the high-powered Edmonton Oilers must go back to the drawing board. 

    Bobrovsky was the star on Saturday, posting a shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He was outstanding between the pipes against Connor McDavid and a high-powered Edmonton team, turning away 32 shots to help Florida defend home ice and take a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.

    The 35-year-old is the oldest goaltender to open a Stanley Cup Final with a shutout.

    Despite being outshot 14-4 in the opening period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Panthers took a 1-0 advantage over the Oilers into the first intermission. Only 3:59 into the first, Carter Verhaeghe scored his 10th postseason goal, placing him only four behind Oilers Zach Hyman (14) for the playoff lead.

    However, Bobrovsky was the story in the first. He stopped 13 shots in the period, including two separate breakaways, denying Adam Henrique and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins one-on-one.

    Another early goal, scored by Evan Rodrigues 2:16 into the second period, gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Even with the ice tilting the Oilers way for most of the period, Bobrovsky again held firm, stopping 13 more shots to help Florida keep its two-goal advantage going into the third. 

    A league-leading plus 13 in the third period this postseason heading into Game 1, the Panthers showed why they’re so deadly with a late-game lead. In the final period, they trapped the Oilers, keeping most of the attack to the outside while collapsing on any dangerous chances in front. 

    When Edmonton did squeak out an opportunity in the third, Bobrovsky was up to the task. Not only did he stone a McDavid one-timer 4:33 into the period, but he made countless big saves the rest of the way, including an outstanding cartwheel stop.

    Outshot 32-18, the Panthers did not play their best, but Bobrovsky’s brilliance stole Game 1. As for the Oilers, the disappointing outcome has a silver lining. On any other night, against any other goaltender, they probably win. 

    The Panthers will host the Oilers in Sunrise for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

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