First off, I would like to address all the rumors surround the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are definitely up to something sketchy with Kucherov going on the LTIR again. If they try to “work the loophole” again this season, I am straight going bananalands and burning down the city of Cheater Bay!
Besides that, the real takeaway from last night was the youth movement in Florida using this game against the former Cup champions as an opportunity to shine. Between Knight and Lundell, the “kids were special” last night as Coach Q said in his post-game presser.
Spencer Knight got the start against the cheating Bolts and stopped 30 of 31 shots. One of the most critical points of the game when the Panthers had a 5-on-3 penalty kill against a lethal Tampa PP unit. Knight stood tall and made a few incredible saves including one on the infamous one-timer from Stammer shot from the left circle.
The only goal came from a screen and delivered by a very dangerous, Brayden Point which would tie the game at 1. This tie was short lived as the Panthers scored just over 90 seconds later to make it 2-1. The Cats then would go on to route the Bolts 4-1.
Knight showed that he does not shy away from competition as he was quoted saying after the game, “I enjoy playing against the best and being challenged. Anyone can make routine saves, but you have to try to face the tough stuff and that’s what I try to do. That’s why I play goalie”.
Knight certainly did stop the “tough stuff” as he was a perfect 8 for 8 in high danger scoring chances, including a 2nd period Stamkos breakaway, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
Another rookie that shone bright in last night’s game was Anton Lundell. Lundell got his first career point on the assist to Montour’s goal and then followed it up by scoring the 3rd goal for the Cats.
Besides praising the kid for his first NHL goal, Coach Q also complimented Lundell’s complete 200-foot game saying “defensively, he’s also got great instincts. Even shorthanded, he was generating some chances as well. That line had some zone time.”
And not to be overshadowed by the youngsters, Anthony Duclair is having himself a nice start to the season. Quietly, Duclair has scored in the last 3 games when he netted the empty netter for the win. Not bad for a $3 million man, eh?
The whole team seems to be buzzing and they are buying in to what Coach Q and Bill Zito are building here in South Florida. Their next game will be against another Stanley Cup favorite this Thursday as they host the Avalanche in Sunrise. This will be another test to see if the Cats are for real as the Av’s get back their star player in Nathan MacKinnon.
Let’s go Cats! In Zito we trust!