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First Round

Bobrovsky moving ahead for Blue Jackets to Game 2 against Lightning

Goalie happy with Game 1 win but expects bigger challenge to come

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- Sergei Bobrovsky has shifted his focus to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Tomorrow is another big game for us, so it doesn't really matter what happened in the past," the Columbus Blue Jackets goalie said after taking a maintenance day Thursday. "Tomorrow is another challenge for us. We have to be ready, we have to work hard. We have to be even better."

Not that he didn't enjoy Game 1, when he made 26 saves in a 4-3 win, including 17 straight after Columbus fell behind 3-0.

 

[RELATED: Complete Lightning vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is at Amalie Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN360, TVAS, SUN, FS-O).

Bobrovsky has won the Vezina Trophy twice (2013, 2017), but prior to Wednesday he was 5-14 with a 3.49 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Early in Game 1 on Wednesday it looked like his playoff struggles were going to continue against the Lightning. But he made a diving save on Nikita Kucherov 26 seconds into the second period that seemed to shift the momentum of the game.

"It was an important moment," Bobrovsky said. "The first period was tough for us. We were able to go back to the locker room, you know, reset and refocus and get back to work. I thought the guys did a great job. They made some huge blocked shots when it was needed."

Video: CBJ@TBL, Gm1: Bobrovsky shuts down Kucherov in tight

As Bobrovsky prepared to move forward, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said he believes the goalie raised his game to a new height.

"I think he not only rebounded, I thought he went to a different level than we've seen," Tortorella said. "That's more impressive to me. More important I hope he feels that way. Because I thought he brought it to a different level after … it was an interesting first period.

"We just looked very nervous, including [Bobrovsky]. But he wasn't just good after that, he was fantastic. Let's face it, that save he makes [on Kucherov] on the breakdown on the power play at the beginning of that second period … it goes 4-0 [it's over]. … So that's a huge save, and I thought he made some tremendous saves after that."

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