Spencer Knight Impresses In NHL Debut

Sam Bennett scored two goals and Anthony Duclair had three assists as the Florida Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1.

Bennett, who was acquired in a trade with the Calgary Flames on April 12, has five points in his first three games with the Panthers. The 24-year-old has looked really good next to Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair on Florida’s newly assembled second line.

The Florida Panthers now have 30 wins on the season, and with Carolina defeating Tampa Bay, opened up a three-point lead on the Lightning for second place in the Central Division.

Spencer Knight

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On Tuesday night, and a day after his 20th birthday, Spencer Knight made his NHL debut in net for Florida. Knight was drafted 13th overall in the 2019 draft out of Boston College. The 20-year-old was a 2021 Hobey Baker Finalist and won the Hockey East’s player of the year award in his sophomore season. He also represented the U.S. as the starting goalie during the most recent IIHF World Junior Championship.

In his debut, Knight stopped 33 out of 34 shots, and became the first goaltender born in the 2000s to appear in an NHL game.

Coach Q on Knight: “He looked very cool and calm in the net. The way he came out and handled pucks, assessed all his options, you could see an understanding of where everybody is around the rink. He tracks the puck extremely well… Very composed.”

Spencer Knight became the first goaltender in Panthers history to earn a win in his NHL debut. Also, Knight is the youngest goalie in franchise history to earn a win, surpassing Roberto Luongo’s 1st win with Florida (Nov. 25, 2000 – 21 yrs, 235 days).

Other Notes

  • The Panthers have earned at least one point in each of their past five games (4-0-1).
  • With the victory, the Cats extended their winning streak on home ice to seven games, their longest since winning eight games in a row from February 22nd to March 10th of 2018.
  • Duclair’s helper on Bennett’s second goal was his 100th NHL assist. Duclair is currently on a seven-game point streak.
  • Ryan Lomberg’s 2nd period goal was his first goal since March 11th.
  • Korpisalo made 28 saves, while Knight had 33 in his first career win.

Postgame Quotes

Huberdeau on Knight’s NHL debut: “He might have been nervous, but it didn’t show out there. I think the way he moves the puck, like when he gets out of the net, it’s pretty incredible. Very happy for him to get that first start, first win.”

Spencer Knight on his NHL debut: “I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. The guys did a good job of just keeping it light and telling me to just go out there and play hockey. That’s what I tried to do. At the end of the day, it’s just hockey.”

Next Up

Florida: The Panthers will host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM EST.

Columbus: The Blue Jackets head to Tampa to take on the Lightning. Puck drop is on Thursday night at 7:00 PM EST.

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