Q’s Game 5 gamble payed off as rookie goaltender Spencer Knight added a shock to the Panthers’ system and helped stabilize them to a 4-1 victory.
The 20-year old seemed to bring a calming presence for Florida - often times seen smiling and joking around with the refs and teammates in between play. It’s obvious the “kid” is soaking this all in, but more importantly, has a a strong mental game and the physical skills/ability to match.
It’s never easy as a goalie to let the first shot you face go in (even if it’s a defensive breakdown), but Knight never let it faze him. He showed great poise and confidence battling the rest of the game and turning away 36 of 37 shots to keep the Cats alive.
The question is: Can he continue to do it?
This goes without saying, but Knight and the Cats will need to be ready heading back to Tampa for Game 6. Im expecting a huge pushback from the Lightning tonight in their own barn.
Florida needs to play a similar game to how they did in Game 5. They had a lot of confidence with guys like Barky, Hornqvist, Weegar, etc. looking a bit more like their regular season forms, and made-for-playoff guys like Marchment and Lomberg continuing their good play. If they can keep the pace up and help Knight - while maintaining their focus and not being drawn into any silliness - they should be able to put themselves in a position for a Game 7.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
I believe the mindset tonight should be the same as we discussed last blog: take it one shift at a time and a full-60 minute effort.
What else can you say? We know what needs to be done…a full-team effort, from the main characters to the supporting cast, and high-octane hockey is how they stay alive!
It’s time for another battle…Go Panthers!
Let’s keep working on tightening up that defense, guys. I know there’s gripes with Yandle, but my heart stops every time I see Montour attack to the shooter (that’s not on his side) and leaves his ice completely open…