Anton Lundell registered his first goal and first assist in the National Hockey League and Spencer Knight made 30 stops in the Florida Panthers 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at AMALIE Arena. The rookies were named First (Lundell) and Second (Knight) Stars of the game.
After a scoreless first period, Lundell won an offensive zone draw with the Cats on a power play, which led to Brandon Montour zinging a shot from the right circle by Andrei Vailevskiy’s glove that opened the scoring at 6:12. Samson Reinhart got the puck over to Montour to earn his first point in a Panthers kit.
Brayden Point would equalize for the Lightning 2:36 into the third, but Aleksander Barkov quickly put the Panthers back on top 1:04 later after a hardworking shift by the first line that resulted in the captain finally getting rewarded down low with the lone assist going to Carter Verhaeghe.
Shortly after the Panthers came up with a big penalty kill when Verhaeghe was called for tripping Alex Killorn, Mason Marchment sent Reinhart and Lundell into the Tampa Bay zone 2-on-2 and the pair worked a gorgeous to and from passing play that ended with the rookie smacking a one-timer by Vasilevskiy for his first NHL goal.
Anthony Duclair extended his goal scoring streak to three games when he completed the scoring into an empty net with 2:06 left on the clock. Barkov and Gustav Forsling got the assists on the clincher.
It was a night of firsts for the Panthers. Lundell got his first NHL point and then goal. Montour bagged his first goal, which was the team’s first power-play goal, of the season. Reinhart got his first points since the trade from Buffalo. Marchment, playing in first game of the season, got his first point. And Knight, making his first start of 2021-22, got his first win of the campaign to run his career NHL regular season record to a perfect 5-0.
The Cats are now 3-0 and have posted impressive wins over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs; the New York Islanders, who have made it to the final four in back-to-back seasons; and the Pittsburgh Penguins, a perennial playoff team. Up next for the undefeated Cats, a return home to face the club widely regarded to be the favorite to win this year’s Cup, the Colorado Avalanche.
Flash & Dash
- In addition to collecting his first two points, Anton Lundell registered three shots on goal, blocked three shots and was credited with a hit in 17:26 TOI.
- The Panthers penalty kill came up big by blunting Tampa Bay’s dangerous power play all six times. Florida also ended Steven Stamkos’ three-game point streak. Stamkos led both teams with six shots on goal.
- Spencer Knight is the 11th NHL goalie to win each of his first five regular-season games. Nine of his 30 saves came with Tampa Bay on the man-advantage.
- Victor Hedman and Jan Rutta picked up the assists on Brayden Point’s first of the season. Hedman logged a game-high 25:09 of ice time.
- Aaron Ekblad led the Cats in ice time (25:07) and shots on goal (5) while posting a +1 rating.
- The Cats were able to solve Andrei Vasilevskiy three times on 31 shots.
- For more on Round 1 of the Sunshine State showdown, pay a visit to Raw Charge. =