SUNRISE — Spencer Knight was back with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on Saturday and some were wondering if the Florida Panthers were punishing their young goalie by sending him down to the minors.
They were not, by any means.
Knight has been in-and-out of the lineup over the past few weeks with illness and injury, being placed on Injured Reserve twice.
He needed to get some game-action in and, based on his contactual situation, sending him to the AHL is an easy solution.
On Saturday, Knight made 23 saves In a 9-0 win over the Cleveland Monsters.
“I just love playing the game. It doesn’t really matter where I am, whether it’s the NHL or the AHL,’’ Knight said afterward.
“I love playing the game and I’m really fortunate to have such a great organization and a great team up in Florida. Down here it’s an awesome group of guys and just really easy to come in. It’s like I’ve been here for months. Just gelled really quickly and it’s a lot of fun.”
Florida coach Paul Maurice did not rule out Knight playing for the Checkers again on Sunday if he did not see much action on Saturday — which he did not.
Knight was in net for the Checkers on Sunday in their rematch with Cleveland.
After the game Alex Lyon played on Saturday, he will start Monday against the host Rangers. Knight is expected to meet the team in New York and serve as Lyon’s backup on Monday.
That allows Knight to start Tuesday against the host Penguins — a team Florida is trying to chase down.
Lyon giving Florida two great games really eases the pressure here. If he was bad against the Wild, Knight would have gone Monday in New York.
It seems the Panthers now have plenty of confidence in Lyon which allows them to get Sergei Bobrovsky right.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Panthers appear to be back in business as they have won seven of their past 10, going 7-2-1 in that stretch following a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Florida played much of Saturday night’s game shorthanded, but thanks in great part of the play of Lyon and some gutsy play, it got a much-needed win.
The Panthers certainly have appeared to get their season back on track.
— Guzda was the backup to Lyon on Saturday night as he became the first player born in Tennessee to dress in an NHL game.
The 22-year-old has a great story as he was passed over in three separate NHL drafts but a strong showing in juniors last season made him extremely popular.
Guzda signed with the Panthers as a free agent, citing the way the franchise treated him during their 2019 development camp — and the relationship he formed with Roberto Luongo.
Luongo came into the room Saturday night to speak with Guzda and it appeared the two had a nice conversation. With Knight coming back, Garza will return to Charlotte. We expect to see him again.
— The NHL looks like it is doing things right with the All-Star Beach Festival which will be held on the sand over by Bahia Mar off A1A.
Not only can you get a picture with the Stanley Cup, but you can watch one of the Skills Competition events taping and cheer on your favorite players on the red carpet event.
— Plenty of postgame reaction from Sunrise last night on the FHN YouTube Channel including comments from Maurice, Lyon, Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart.
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NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
So, let’s say your team wins the Bo Horvat sweepstakes by the NHL Trade Deadline.
You want to keep the Vancouver captain around long-term, so what is that going to cost?
— So, the Washington Capitals are in Vegas and Alex Ovechkin just happens to be unavailable due to a “lower body injury.” I’m sure buying that.
— Don’t look now, but here come the Philadelphia Flyers.
— It has been a rough couple of months for Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang but he is trying to motor through it. He says he is grateful to his teammates for helping him along.
— The Montreal Canadiens will be without one of their top young stars as Cole Caufield is out for the season.
— So, what will the San Jose Sharks do with Erik Karlsson? We know they want a lot for him — and he says he wants a chance to win.
— Calgary Flames coach Daryl Sutter and his prickly ways can be fun but sometimes he just seems like a curmudgeon. Like on Saturday when he rained on Jakob Pelletier and his NHL debut.
— The New York Islanders have now lost four straight.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT NEW YORK RANGERS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Rangers won 2-1
- This season (Rangers lead 1-0): Rangers 5, Panthers 3 (Jan. 1)
- All-time regular season series: Rangers lead 58-32-8, 6 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m.