With the Florida Panthers flying west for a four-game trip to California and Nevada, it was of little surprise that goalie Spencer Knight was with them.
How it happened was a little surprising, however.
Knight is expected to start Sunday night in Los Angeles — the Panthers would rather not play the 33-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky a day after a 5 1/2 hour flight west — and likely Friday night in Anaheim as that is the second half of a back-to-back with Vegas.
After making 29 saves Monday night in Buffalo, Knight was sent back to the AHL Charlotte Checkers where he got in another start on Wednesday night. He gave up six goals on 28 shots in a loss to the Texas Stars.
On Friday, a day before traveling to Los Angeles, Florida recalled Knight from Charlotte.
With an open roster spot, that was expected.
Jonas Johansson being sent to Charlotte — he is not waiver eligible — on a game conditioning stint was the surprising part.
UPDATE: We do not see an active player go to the minors on a conditioning assignment so I did not know that Johansson remains on the Florida roster even though he is in Charlotte.
Saturday night, Johansson played in just his second game since Dec. 8 as he started and played the first half of what was a 5-4 overtime win.
Johansson gave up two goals on 18 shots in just over 32 minutes of play.
Before Saturday, Johansson had only played in one game — a 6-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 24 — since the Panthers claimed him off waivers from Colorado on Dec. 13.
Saturday afternoon following practice at the Kings’ facility in Los Angeles, coach Andrew Brunette would not confirm Florida’s starter for Sunday, lending more credence to the thought Knight would indeed be playing.
Since becoming coach, Brunette has usually confirmed the next day’s starter as long as it is Bobrovsky.
If it is not, he usually says it has not been determined yet.
“I’m going to go back and talk to Robb here tonight and figure it out,” Brunette said Saturday, referring to goalie coach Robb Tallas.
Anton Lundell and Ryan Lomberg are not on the trip, per Brunette and Florida has no open roster spots at the moment.
Florida will have to make one to activate Joe Thornton off injured reserve before Tuesday’s game in San Jose. Lundell, hurt last Monday in Buffalo, could be retroactively be added to the IR at any time to free up another roster spot.
Lundell and/or Lomberg could also meet the team later on in the week-long trip although with the trade deadline coming next Monday, the Panthers may want to keep some roster spots open.
— The Kings remain right in the thick of the playoff race and stand second in the Pacific Division, seven points back of the Flames for first.
Los Angeles has lost its past two games — in overtime to the Sharks on Thursday night and then 5-0 in San Jose on Saturday.
Jonathan Quick is expected to start for the Kings.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT LOS ANGELES KINGS
- When: Sunday, 10 p.m.
- Where: Crypto.Com Arena, Los Angeles
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560, SiriusXM
- FanDuel odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-210); Puck line (-1.5, +116); Over/Under 6.5 (-110/-110)
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Los Angeles leads 22-14-0, 3 ties
- Season series — Los Angeles leads 1-0: Los Angeles 4, @Florida 1 (Dec. 16)
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 98 Maxim Mamin
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 9 Sam Bennett // 10 Anthony Duclair
17 Mason Marchment // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 13 Sam Reinhart
77 Frank Vatrano // 55 Noel Acciari // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
40 Petteri Lindbohm // 62 Brandon Montour
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratched: Lucas Carlsson
Injured: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Joe Thornton (IR), Ryan Lomberg (IR), Anton Lundell (LBI)
Loaned to Charlotte: Jonas Johansson
PROJECTED LOS ANGELES KINGS LINEUP
19 Alex Iafallo // 11 Anze Kopitar // 9 Adrian Kempe
12 Trevor Moore // 24 Phillip Danault // 34 Arthur Kaliyev
24 Lias Andersson // 55 Quinton Byfield // 23 Dustin Brown
28 Jaret Anderson-Dolan // 46 Blake Lizotte // 38 Carl Grunderstrom
57 Jacob Moverare // 3 Matt Roy
6 Olli Maatta // 53 Jordan Spence
33 Tobias Bjornfot // 50 Sean Durzi
32 Jonathan Quick
40 Cal Peterson
Los Angeles Kings lines courtesy DailyFaceoff.com