NHL Scores: Spencer Knight wins NHL debut, Islanders stop Rangers cold, and more

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Apr 20, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight (30) attempts to make a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the NHL Spencer Knight. The Florida Panthers 2019 first round pick played his first game and came away with a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. “I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” the 20 year-old remarked after the game. “The guys did a good job of keeping it light and just telling me, ‘Just go out and play hockey.’ That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Panthers continue to roll, Hurricanes top Lightning

While the kid made 33 saves, another new Panther is making his mark. Sam Bennett has five points in three games since being traded from Calgary after he added two goals last night in the victory. Florida remains tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for first place.

In Tampa, Alex Nedeljkovic made 26 stops for the Hurricanes as they knocked off the Lightning 4-1. Carolina got goals from Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Staal 25 seconds apart to springboard to a huge W. The loss puts the Lightning 3 points back of both the Canes and Cats for first.

“All these games now, they mean a lot,” Nedeljkovic said. “We’re poised here to make a deep run, and games like this are only going to push us in the right direction. We’ll most likely have to go through these guys one way or another come playoff time, so any time you can kind of beat ’em a little bit and at least I think we evened up the series with them for the year (each team is 4-3-1).”

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While the top three spots are all a lock to get into the post season, the Dallas Stars led by Joe Pavelski’s 19th of the season are just one point out of fourth. They defeated the Red Wings 4-1 for their fourth straight win, and have two games in hand on the idle Nashville Predators.

Islanders snap Rangers win streak, Bruins steamrolling into playoffs

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Apr 20, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) is checked by New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Islanders came out hitting everything in sight and the Rangers had no answer for it. The game itself turned completely in the Islanders favor after Matt Martin plastered Jacob Trouba into the boards. Unfortunately for the Rangers star defenseman, he was wobbled and did not return. From there it was all Isles as they cruised to a 6-1 win victory and snapped the Rangers four game winning streak and six game point streak.

Anthony Beauvillier had a four point night to lead the Islanders in scoring. Afterwards he said, “It’s just one of those nights where everything seems to go in, and you just kind of enjoy them and move forward after.” For the Rangers they are now further out of the playoff race with 10 games to go.

One team they are chasing is the Boston Bruins, who are on a hot streak and won their fifth in a row. This time it was a Tuukka Rask shutout over the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. The Rangers also lost ground to the Penguins who almost blew a six goal lead. The Devils stormed back in the third period but Pittsburgh held on for a wild 7-6 win.

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Canucks win again, and Golden Knights fall

To roundup all of last night’s action there was one game apiece in the North and West. First off to Vancouver, where the Canucks won their second game since returning from a long COVID hiatus. They beat the Maple Leafs 6-3 thanks to Quinn Hughes 1G and 2A performance from the blue-line. And the Kings beat the Ducks out West by a 4-1 score.