Spencer Knight is only in his second full NHL season — but the Buffalo Sabres have to be sick of the Florida Panthers goalie already.
After beating the Sabres in all three meetings last season, Knight remained unbeaten in his brief career against Buffalo as he stopped 24 shots (including a SportsCenter worthy block of Jeff Skinner) as the Panthers pulled out a 4-3 win at KeyBank Center on Saturday afternoon.
The three goals matched the most Knight has ever given up to the Sabres — he also surrendered three in his other visit to Buffalo back on April 3 — but the Panthers’ offense was in the mood to score some goals in a fun matinee.
Florida was able to score twice on the power play in the second period to take a two-goal advantage, a lead it never relinquished.
Tied at 2 after the opening 20, Aaron Ekblad got Florida’s first power play goal of the season on a wrist shot from the right circle 2:31 into the second.
The Sabres had a terrific chance to tie the score a few minutes later but Knight absolutely robbed Skinner with a great diving save to keep things right where they were.
”I don’t really think about it,” Knight said afterward, “it was just another save.’’
The Panthers made it 4-2 when former Buffalo defenseman Brandon Montour got the second power play goal with 2:15 left in the period.
At the time, the Panthers were 2-for-5 with the advantage, scoring on two of the 13 power play shots on goal.
Florida ended the day 2-for-6 on the power play although the Panthers’ new look continues to create a ton of chances.
The Sabres were 0-4 with the man advantage.
Buffalo closed to within in a goal on a nice shot from Rasmus Dahlin with 58.8 seconds remaining in the period, but the Panthers closed with a strong defensive stand in the third which included an extended power play chance for the Sabres.
Florida ended up outshooting the Sabres 7-5 in the third and 37-27 over the course of the game.
Eric Comrie, making his first start with the Sabres, was solid throughout the game and kept it close against a Florida team that was flying around all day.
The Panthers, which had the most games in scoring three-plus goals since the 1993-94 season last year, have two such games so far.
The first period was a back-and-forth affair with Florida falling behind for the first time this young season when Alex Tuch flew by Marc Staal — who took a tumble on the ice — and beat Knight at 10:35.
Florida answered four minutes later when Colin White got his first of the season by one-timing a shot from Eetu Luostarinen.
Colin White with a rocket!
— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) October 15, 2022
Tkachuk got called for roughing at 15:52 and the Panthers killed it off with Tkachuk charging out of the box and into the play; he knocked in his second of the season off a long shot from Gus Forsling to make it 2-1.
The Sabres quickly tied things back up, however, with Zemgus Girgensons scoring off a nice drop pass from J.J. Peterka with 1:09 left in the period.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Brandon Montour, Florida (Game-winning goal)
2. Aaron Ekblad, Florida (Go-ahead power play goal)
3. Spencer Knight, Florida (Winning goalie)
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Boston Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Boston won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Boston leads 58-36-6, 6 ties