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Florida Panthers GameDay

Spencer Knight hits rough patch but Panthers still confident



Panthers spencer knight
K’Andre Miller of the New York Rangers drives in and scores on Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight during the second period of their game Monday night at Madison Square Garden. // Photo Credit: Sean Cushing; Instagram @seanrcushing

Things have, for the most part, gone pretty smoothly in the short NHL career of Spencer Knight with the Florida Panthers.

Then came the past couple of days.

On Monday, Knight suffered his first regulation defeat in his 10th regular season start since joining the Panthers out of Boston College last spring.

The New York Rangers took a 4-0 lead on the Panthers before holding on for a 4-3 win.

On Tuesday night, Knight got his first NHL start on consecutive nights and the New Jersey Devils put up six on him in what ended up being a 7-3 victory.

Florida has now lost two consecutive games for the first time this season.

Knight has lost consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Hey, it happens.

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”He knows that he is an unbelievable goalie,” Sasha Barkov said. “He is a huge part of this team. Without him, we wouldn’t be where we are. The past two games are not on him. It’s all on how we play. We haven’t played our best. We’re losing pucks, we’re not playing the right way.

‘If we keep playing like this, it doesn’t matter (who is in goal) and keep giving up chances, it’s going to end like this.

“Knighter is a big part of our team. He has been a big part of our team since Day 1. We’re real lucky to have him.”

Although Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to be back in net Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Panthers are not pushing the panic button on their 20-year-old rookie.

Not even close.

The truth is, had Bobrovsky not pulled something in the first period of Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals, Knight would not have been getting the recent workload in the first place.

[RELATED: Sasha Barkov owns Florida Panthers goal scoring record]

And, had the Panthers not had the faith Knight could get the job done, perhaps they would have nudged Bobrovsky to come on back a little early.

There is no reason to rush anyone right now.

The Panthers’ nets are in good hands these days with both Bobrovsky and Knight.

Knight likely getting the next couple of games off is not necessarily a bad thing.

“We did not help him either night,’’ Andrew Brunette said. “Some of the breakdowns were pretty glaring. We didn’t help things and I think he had a little bad puck luck on a couple of those. …

“As for confidence, I don’t think (he’s lacking). He’s a pretty confident kid. I think he understands what happened. It was a great experience for him to go through and he battled.”



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