Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky puts on goal-stopping show to help secure Game 1 win in Stanley Cup finals

 

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The Florida Panthers set the tone for the Stanley Cup in Game 1 on Saturday night with a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers to jump out to an early series lead.

The goal-scoring was one thing, but the goal-stopping was another.

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Panthers star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots from nearly every angle, including six alone from Oilers star Connor McDavid. Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues were able to get shots past Stuart Skinner. Then, Eetu Luostarinen put the finishing touch on the game.

“It’s fun to play those guys, those elite guys and it’s a fun atmosphere,” Bobrovsky said. “I am just alive for the opportunity, and I enjoy every second of it.”

The crowd at the Amerant Bank Area in Sunrise, Florida, shouted cheers for the veteran goaltender as he made save after save.

For the first time in franchise history, the Panthers have a series lead in the Stanley Cup finals. It’s the team’s third appearance in the series.

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“We kind of know what it takes this year,” Verhaeghe said. “We know how challenging it is, the ups and downs of playoffs and the grind of it. I think that makes us more equipped this year.”

The pressure will certainly turn up on McDavid and the rest of his Oilers teammates. The three-time Hart Trophy winner is finally in the Stanley Cup finals in his ninth season in the NHL.

“Lots to like,” McDavid said. “We didn’t give up too much, (but) what we did give up was dangerous.”

Edmonton out-shot Florida 32-18.

“We know that we’re going to have to get even better,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “There are things we’re going to have to look at and try to increase those chances.”

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Game 2 is set for Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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