We all remember last year, the year of upsets. Last year included a multitude of shocking results in the first round. But none topped the one that took place in Columbus, Ohio. Last Year, Sergei Bobrovsky lead the Blue Jackets to a first round upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then, they were dispatched by the Boston Bruins in six games. But, the word had spread. Sergei Bobrovsky was a franchise goaltender, and he wanted to get paid. And he sure did.
Sergei Bobrovsky signed a 7 year, 70 million dollar contract with the Florida Panthers, to join forces with longtime Blackhawks coach Joel Quenville in Florida. Not to mention, they also added veteran forward Mike Hoffman to an already loaded young core. In essence, Bobrovsky was getting paid a little under 2 million dollars more a year to play with what seemed like a certain playoff contender.
But, it was a rocky start. As everyone knows, team chemistry is key to win in hockey. But, boy has it taken them quite a long time to find it. But, enough is enough. A lot of teams like Florida have seemed to realize the second chance given to them by the unfortunate turn of events, and all of those lucky teams are poised to make a deep playoff run this year.
The Panthers first round matchup will be against the New York Islanders, who will be practically limping into this series. They have lost 7 straight games going into the hiatus, and will be desperate to right the ship. The Panthers haven't been nearly as bad, as they have went a respectable 4-4-2 in their last 10, but won their last two games before the pause. As long as the Panthers install the right game-plan to combat Barry Trotz's Islanders, it should be a cakewalk as long barring any setbacks, like injuries.
That brings them to the first round, where if they get matched up with the Lightning, you never know. Maybe Sergei has one more upset in him. No team should want to face Bobrovsky, especially if they get hot. Don't be surprised to see the Panthers in 2020 hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.