Best Florida Panthers Saves of 2019-20 (So Far!)by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com
Goalies need love, too!
After looking back at my personal top-10 favorite goals that the Florida Panthers have scored during the 2019-20 season thus far, it seemed only fair to give a similar shoutout to the players between the pipes.
And between Sergei Bobrovsky, Sam Montembeault and Chris Driedger, there was certainly no shortage of highlight-reel stops to choose from this season. From coming up clutch in the shootout to more than a few eye-popping pad saves, the trio of netminders often left Panthers fans with their mouths agape.
So, in chronological order, here are 10 of my favorite saves from the season… so far!
10. Oct. 5, 2019: Bobrovsky Flashes Leather in Home Opener
The net was wide open… until it wasn't.
With the Lightning on the power play near the midway point of the third period, Sergei Bobrovsky sprawls out across the crease to gobble up a wicked one-timer from Nikita Kucherov with his glove.
Video: TBL@FLA: Bobrovsky's gorgeous glove save on Kucherov
Taking the ice for the first time at BB&T Center in a Panthers jersey, Bobrovsky went on to finish with 32 saves to help lead Florida to an exhilarating 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay in this season's Home Opener.
"A couple of those tonight were spectacular," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of Bobrovsky's performance. "Those were huge saves for us."
9. Oct. 19, 2019: Stealing the Show in the Shootout
Sam Montembeault's first win of the season was sealed in the shootout.
After standing tall during regulation, the rookie went on to stop all three shooters he faced in the skills competition -- including this game-winning stop on Kyle Turris -- to lift Florida to a 3-2 win at Nashville.
Video: FLA@NSH: Montembeault stones Turris to win shootout
A wizard in the shootout this season, Montembeault has allowed just three goals on 13 attempts.
"I liked his composure," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of Montembeault after the win. "I thought he was very calm in the net. I thought, with the puck as well, he likes to make direct plays with it. I thought his rebound control was solid. I thought he followed the puck extremely well. They've got some big shooters at the top there, a lot of screened looks, and he found a way to fight through that."
8. Nov. 7, 2019: Bobrovsky Lays Out to Deny Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin has scored 706 goals in his NHL career.
Thanks to Sergei Bobrovsky, this was not one of them.
After a long wrist shot from Michal Kempny, Ovechkin appeared to have a wide-open look on the ensuing rebound from the left side of the net. But, in an incredible display of athleticism, Bobrovsky pushed off his left skate and managed to reach back just in time to make the save with his paddle.
Video: WSH@FLA: Bobrovsky recovers to rob Ovechkin's bid
That was one of 26 saves Bobrovsky made as the Panthers fell to the Capitals by a score of 5-4 in overtime.
7. Dec. 14, 2019: Bang-Bang Saves Against the Bruins
It only took a split second for Sergei Bobrovsky to shut down two-thirds of Boston's top line.
After stopping David Pastrnak's shot attempt from the right circle, Bobrovsky then quickly turns just in the nick of time to get a right pad on a follow-up attempt from Patrice Bergeron from near the crease.
Video: BOS@FLA: Bobrovsky stones Pastrnak, Bergeron
"The guys helped me, too," said Bobrovsky, who stopped 38 of 41 shots as the Panthers lost to the Bruins by a score of 4-2. "I felt good there. I felt comfortable. From my standpoint, I just have to build up from it. Build emotionally, physically and keep going."
6. Jan. 18, 2020: Two For the Price of One in Detroit
It's not very often that you see a goaltender make two saves on a breakaway.
With the Cats clinging to a 2-1 lead near the midway point of the third period, Sergei Bobrovsky not only stops Frans Nielsen's initial shot on the breakaway, but also stifles his ensuing attempt on the rebound.
Video: FLA@DET: Bobrovsky makes consecutive saves on Nielsen
Returning to the lineup after missing two games with an injury, Bobrovsky stopped 27 of 28 shots to backstop the Panthers to a 4-1 win over the Red Wings.
"If it goes to 2-2, it's a completely different game," Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk said of Bobrovsky's consecutive saves. "He makes the first one, then the second one. He held strong so they couldn't get it."
5. Jan. 21, 2020: DeBrincat's Re-Direct is Denied
The glove is mightier than the sword.
Sliding down toward the blue paint, Alex DeBrincat attempts to re-direct a pass from Patrick Kane into the back of the net, but is immediately shut down by an otherworldly glove save from Sergei Bobrovsky.
Video: FLA@CHI: Bobrovsky stymies DeBrincat with glove save
In stopping 32 of 35 shots -- including 15 from high-danger areas -- Bobrovsky helped Joel Quenneville pick up a huge win in his return to Chicago as the Panthers toppled the Blackhawks by a score of 4-3.
"It's one of those games you want to win for your coach," Bobrovsky said after the game.
4. Feb. 3, 2020: Snow Day for Sergei
A face full of snow couldn't keep Sergei Bobrovsky from making this save.
Showcasing his outstanding lateral movement in net, Bobrovsky slides from one side of the crease to the other just in time to rebuff Pierre Engvall's dangerous one-timer off the rush from right on the doorstep.
Video: FLA@TOR: Bobrovsky robs Engvall on the rush
Finishing with 31 saves, Bobrovsky backstopped the Panthers to a 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs.
"I saw the opposition player going backdoor, so I tried to go as fast as possible there," Bobrovsky said of his clutch save on Envgall. "I was fortunate. In the blocking position, it hit me."
3. Feb. 11, 2020: Montembeault Stuns Hughes with His Pad
Jack Hughes is likely still pondering how this one didn't go in.
After showing off his puck-handling skills while cutting into zone, Hughes then attempts to finish off the sequence by tucking home a goal, but is swiftly denied by a lunging pad save from Sam Montembeault.
Video: FLA@NJD: Montembeault kicks out pad to rob Hughes
His first start since Nov. 24, Montembeault made 25 saves to help Florida to a 5-3 win at New Jersey.
"Obviously I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I just felt better as the game went on," Montembeault said after the game. "As a goalie, it's obviously always easier to play when you've got a lead like that. They really helped me there."
2. Feb. 27, 2020: Marner Mystified by Bobrovsky's Sprawling Stop
This was a save that left a lot of people wondering, "How the heck did he do that?"
Facing down Mitch Marner, who had no one but the goaltender to beat from in close, Sergei Bobrovsky sprawls out to make a terrific tumbling save to turn a would-be goal into an entry into his highlight-reel.
Video: TOR@FLA: Bobrovsky sprawls to rob Marner
Despite Bobrovsky coming up with 24 saves, the Panthers fell to the Maple Leafs by a score of 5-3.
"As the game went on, I thought in the second and third he made some big saves for us, a couple miraculous saves," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of Bobrovsky's night. "He gave us a chance."
1. March 9, 2020: Driedger Does it Again… and Again… and Again!
Not one, not two, but three saves!
Laying down in the crease after stopping two shots from Tyler Bozak in rapid succession, Chris Driedger then somehow manages to stretch his glove out far enough to rob Alexander Steen of a goal.
Video: FLA@STL: Driedger stretches to deny Steen
Turning aside 26 of 27 shots, Driedger helped backstopped the Panthers to a 2-1 win at St. Louis.
"This was a fun one," Driedger said after the game.