Through six games this season, Sergei Bobrovsky hasn’t been the dominant force the Columbus Blue Jackets are used to between the pipes and Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said his goaltender has been outplayed by the opposition.
“Bob has not been Bob,” Tortorella said Wednesday, per The Columbus Dispatch. “It’s a unique position, that goaltender position, but the past two games the opposing goaltender has been better than our goaltender. That doesn’t happen often with Bob, but it has been there this year.”
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner has a 2-4 record with an .872 save percentage and a 3.87 goals-against average. Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 26 shots in Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes
Bobrovsky, who is playing in the final season of his current contract, struggled in the preseason with an .819 save percentage and a 5.15 goals-against average in three exhibition games. Tortorella gave Joonas Korpisalo the start in the team's first game of the season, leaving Bobrovsky on the bench for an opener for the first time since he joined the club in 2012.
Korpisalo, 24, is 2-0 this season with a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 goals-against average. Tortorella would not commit to a starter for Thursday's game against the St. Louis Blues, but noted he expects Bobrovsky to improve with more starts. The Blue Jackets have 14 games scheduled for the month of November.
“Every goalie needs to get into a flow, and I think that will help him,” Tortorella explained. “When these games start coming at us, I think it’s going to help his game.”
Tortorella said after Tuesday's game that Bobrovsky was not to blame for the loss, but the team does expect him to bail them out after mistakes in their own zone. “Bob has got to play better, too,” he added. “Twelve scoring chances [for the Coyotes], four goals. Bob made some really good saves, but he has got to be better.
“So, I’m not going to listen to, ‘in tough spots.’ This is a team game, and that’s a big part of our success is him. I’m certainly not laying the blame of a loss on the goaltender, but he has got to be better, too, just like everybody else on this team.”