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Sunday Feature: Bobrovsky's play inspires confidence

Blue Jackets' No. 1 goaltender boasts impressive numbers in early going

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

Bobrovsky keeps the puck out

CBJ@ANA: Bobrovsky lays out to guard the crease

Sergei Bobrovsky makes a great stop to deny the initial shot attempt, then throws the puck out of harms way to keep the Ducks off the board

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Sergei Bobrovsky has been good enough during this initial stretch that it might just make you want to hug him.

"We know what Bob's going to bring us every night. He's been unbelievable," Sam Gagner said after the team's 4-0 win over Anaheim. "That gives us confidence in front of him to just go play our game."

According to corsica.hockey, of the 54 goaltenders who have logged at least 50 minutes in NHL games in the first month of the season, Bobrovsky ranks 12th in 5v5 save percentage (93.92%) and ninth in save percentage in all situations (95.76%), all while facing the third most shot attempts against (432 in all situations).

 

To look at this another way, we can examine Bobrovsky's "Goals Saved Above Average" (GSAA); the focus of this measure is to look at how many more (or fewer) goals a goaltender saves compared to league average while factoring in the "danger zone" from where a shot attempt came.

Again according to Corsica.hockey, Bobrovsky ranks third among all goaltenders in 5v5 GSAA (5.02) and first in all situations' GSAA (7.79).

Bobrovsky has been a big part of the Blue Jackets' sixth-ranked penalty killing unit, too. Of the 16 goaltenders playing 30 minutes or more shorthanded, his save percentage is third-best (94.87%) and a second-best GSAA of 2.68.

The impact of this kind of a performance has not been lost on John Tortorella. The Blue Jackets' head coach was quick to praise his netminder as the team's week-long road trip reached its conclusion in Anaheim.

That game marked Bobrovsky's second shutout of the season and 14th of his career.

"(Bobrovsky's) been solid right on through," Tortorella said. "That's what we talked about in the third period, let's play for him a little bit here and try to help because he's bailed us out along the way."

Bailed out indeed. According to NHL.com, the Blue Jackets had a +1 goal differential putting them at seventh-best in the league headed into Saturday's games, despite only 18 goals for (24th).

This consistent high level of play is why Tortorella has turned to his No. 1 goaltender for all seven of the Blue Jackets' games so far.

But Bobrovsky, who says he remains focused on the moment while in net, is quick to remind anyone who asks that it isn't him alone on the ice. The season is young and 75 games await.

"I'm part of the team, and we go out in a game (together)," Bobrovsky said. "We all work hard together, we'll lose together, we'll win together and that's the thing."

All data from Corsica.hockey and current through Oct. 28 games played.

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