NHL Buzz: Knight expected to make debut for Panthers

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 

Florida Panthers

Spencer Knight is expected to make his NHL debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, BBSUN, BBOH, NHL.TV).

The goalie, who was selected with the No. 13 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract March 31 and was recalled from the taxi squad April 13.

“He’s handled some big situations and just handles it like, ‘Hey, it’s the next big challenge in life,'” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “And he’s done everything he can do to prepare for this opportunity and as an organization we’re looking forward to it as well.”

Knight backed up Sergei Bobrovsky in a 4-2 win against Columbus on Monday and Quenneville said after the game, there was a “good chance” he would start the second half of the back-to-back set.

Knight played two seasons at Boston College, was the 2020-21 Hockey East Goaltender of the Year and helped the United States to a first-place finish at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships.

“In practice nothing bothers him,” Quenneville said. “He’s very cool in the net. He’s seen a number of different shooters at our level here. It’s not the same as a game, but he’s seen some good opportunity to play in that meaningful challenge and [Tuesday] will be fun, getting that first taste in his career.”

Florida (29-12-5) is tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for first in the Discover Central Division. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Alain Poupart

 

Washington Capitals

Zdeno Chara is day to day for the Capitals with an undisclosed injury after he missed his first game of the season, a 6-3 loss at the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

The defenseman blocked two shots off his right ankle while on the penalty kill late in the second period of a 6-3 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday but was able to finish the game.

“We took some rubber on the back end last night, different players and three or four blocks, in the defensive zone,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said before the game Sunday. 

When asked if Chara was one of the players hurting, Laviolette said, “It would seem like it after the whistler that he took.”

The 44-year-old has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists), is plus-8 and averaging 18:24 of ice time in 45 games this season.

Trevor van Riemsdyk replaced Chara in the lineup. Van Riemsdyk had not dressed for a game since he played 51 seconds as the seventh defenseman against the New York Islanders on March 16. He has scored one goal in nine games this season. 

Washington (29-13-4) is first in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, two points ahead of the second-place New York Islanders. Its next game is at the Islanders on Thursday. — Tom Gulitti

 

Los Angeles Kings

Matt Roy could play for the Kings when they host the Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET; BSW, KDOC, BSW+, ESPN+, NHL.TV) after the defenseman was removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol Sunday.

“First of all, we’re excited about him being around,” coach Todd McLellan said Monday. “He just brings a calmness to the group back there. He’s a legitimate, full-time NHL player obviously, and his ability to calm situations down, even in practice, we’ve seen that in practice for the last couple of days. Off for a while, I think the time off took its toll on him a little bit. He looked much better today in practice than he did yesterday. We’ll have to make a decision on him for the game tomorrow, but I would think we’re pretty darn close with him.”

The Kings are 2-5-0 without Roy, who last played April 2. He has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 30 games.

Defenseman Tobias Bjornfot has been out since April 1 with an upper-body injury and his return date is unknown. He has four assists in 19 games.

Los Angeles (16-20-6) is seventh in the eight-team Honda West Division, seven points behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes. — Tracey Myers

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