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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Sergei Bobrovsky was on the ice for the Florida Panthers morning skate ahead of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday (8 p.m.; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC).

The 35-year-old goalie was conspicuously absent from practice Sunday as part of the Panthers’ plan to get him back into his usual routine

Florida expects Bobrovsky to be back on top of his game Monday when they need him most, though, as they attempt to end a three-game losing streak and win the Stanley Cup for the first time.

“We certainly know that he's going to get really dialed in for us,” Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said Sunday. “He has been for two years. It has been outstanding the way he prepares, his focus. We talked in the last few days, talked after Game 6, the players, about how we can get better. Now everybody's ready.”

Panthers coach Paul Maurice explained that Bobrovsky did not practice on the day before games during the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the games were mostly every other day, but did when there were two-day breaks in the Cup Final before Games 3, 5 and 6. So, to get Bobrovsky back into his previous rhythm, Bobrovsky skipped practice Sunday (along with defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who has been resting on off days throughout the series) and also participated in Florida’s morning skate Monday.

“As we’ve gotten further along, we wanted to get him back into routine on the day before,” Maurice said. “So, it’s to get back to an actual repeatable pattern, even though the days aren’t lined up the same.”

Bobrovsky looked like he might run away with the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs after he stopped 82 of 86 shots for a 1.33 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in winning the first three games of the Cup Final, including a 32-save shutout in a 3-0 victory in Game 1. But his play has dropped off with the rest of the Panthers in losing three-straight games to set up a Game 7 in the Cup Final for the first time since 2019.

He’s given up 12 goals on 58 shots the past three games for a 5.06 GAA and .793 save percentage, including being pulled in the second period of an 8-1 loss in Game 4 after giving up five goals on 16 shots.

“It's definitely not his fault,” Tkachuk said. “It's on us to tighten up defensively, get off to better starts. We've been trailing in each of the last three games, which might open you up a little bit and cost you more chances against. So, we have to be a lot better in front of him. So, it's definitely, definitely not his fault. Absolutely not.”

Maurice said he thought Bobrovsky played well in Florida’s 5-1 loss in Game 6 on Friday. Bobrovsky allowed three goals on 19 shots before Edmonton scored two empty-net goals to complete the scoring. Each of the Oilers’ goals against Bobrovsky in Game 6 came on odd-man rushes as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead for the second straight game.

“I thought he was strong and solid,” Maurice said. “Now, we were kind to him, and we didn’t give up a short-handed breakaway to start the game. I thought that was good of us. We cut down on those for him and gave him a chance. We’re going to try that again tomorrow, but I he looked good.”

NHL Tonight crew breakdown the Florida Panthers

While Bobrovsky and Ekblad rested Sunday, it was a workday for the rest of the Panthers in a businesslike practice aimed at trying to clean up some of the areas of their play that have caused them to get outscored 18-5 in the past three games. The first segment focused on the power play.

Maurice referenced the short-handed goals the Panthers allowed to fall behind 1-0 early in Games 4 and 5. The Panthers' power play is 1-for-19 with two short-handed goals against in the Cup Final.

Florida continues to search for answers to Edmonton’s penalty kill, which has allowed only one goal on 33 times short-handed in the past two rounds, including killing off all 14 Dallas Stars power plays in the Western Conference Final. After replacing Brandon Montour with Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the point on the first power-play unit for Game 6, the Panthers made another change Sunday with Vladimir Tarasenko moving up from the second unit to take Carter Verhaeghe’s spot in the left circle.

“Their penalty kill is dialed in,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “They’re playing really well. They played really good against Dallas, and now they’re doing the same thing to us. So, obviously, we have to recognize that. We’ve been talking about it and working on it. So, tomorrow, just like everything else in our game, we just need to come out and play our best whether it’s 5-on-5 or power play or penalty kill.”

After letting three opportunities to close out the Oilers slip through their fingers, and not leading any of those games, the Panthers are down to their last shot at completing the mission they’ve been on since losing to Vegas Golden Knights in the Cup Final last season. If the Panthers can rebound and win at home, their three-game slump will be mostly forgotten while they celebrate the first championship in their 30-season history.

The painful alternative is joining the 1942 Detroit Red Wings (against the Toronto Maple Leafs) as the only teams to lose in a best-of-7 Cup Final after winning the first three games.

“You bring that desperation, you bring that energy that you need, and this is a time where we lose, we don’t win it; they lose, they don’t win it,” Montour said. “So, that desperation, that kind of momentum that we need to fight that much harder because we don’t want that bad result like last year. So, that’s going to give guys that much more boost.”

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