Sergei Bobrovsky saved all 18 shots he faced against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, but didn’t earn a shutout. That’s because the Vezina winner was injured in the third period, and Curtis McElhinney went the rest of the way for the 1-0 win.
Jackets fans should get used to McElhinney, because The Bob has a groin strain that’s going to keep him out at least a month, and perhaps five weeks. As Aaron Portzline noted, that could mean 15 games without Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets. Ouch.
Granted, Bobrovsky hasn’t exactly been in Vezina form this year, with a 2.72 GAA and a .909 save percentage. But we’ve seen what he can do when he’s rolling … and we’ve also seen what can happen in the Metro Division when a starting goaltender goes down for a significant period. (Looks down at Islanders …)
"Based on Curtis's play, and what I've seen this season, there's nothing ... to suggest that I'm expecting bad things," Coach Todd Richards told Puck-Rakers. "In the games that he's played, he's played well."
Backing him up is Mike McKenna, who was recalled from the AHL on Wednesday.
Perhaps this is a rallying point for the Blue Jackets. Or perhaps it sinks them in the divisional race.
As Brandon Dubinsky said, "We can't afford to have Bob hurt. We need Bob for this team to be successful. But I can tell you, this team is very comfortable playing in front of Curtis.”