Knight makes 45 saves, Panthers beat Devils 4-1

NHL Hockey

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)Spencer Knight made a career-high 45 saves to lift the Florida Panthers over the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Thursday night.

The Panthers extended their home regular-season win streak to 13 games dating to last season.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair each had a goal and an assist, and Eetu Luostarinen and Carter Verhaeghe also scored for the Panthers, who are 9-0-0 at home.

”Any goalie will tell you it’s more fun when you face more shots,” Knight said.

The 13th consecutive home regular-season win for the Panthers tied them for the 20th-longest streak in NHL history. It’s the longest since Toronto also won 13 in a row on home ice from Jan. 31 through March 24, 2018. Florida’s longest previous home regular-season win streak was an eight-game run from Feb. 22 through March 10, 2018.

”We put an emphasis on playing well at home,” Duclair said. ”We want to put an honest effort every time we play here and we want to keep it going here at home.”

The Panthers scored at least four goals for the 11th time this season.

Dougie Hamilton scored for the Devils.

Mackenzie Blackwood allowed four goals in a span of 8:20. He faced 27 shots before being replaced by Jonathan Bernier with 11:45 left in the second period.

Knight faced 22 shots in the first.

”They came at us, and figured that they would,” Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette said. ”We were just probably a little slow reacting. Spencer was unbelievable and then we got our legs going.”

After the score was tied at 1, the Panthers got two goals 1:17 apart from Luostarinen and Huberdeau by 4:25 of the second to go ahead 3-1. Duclair’s goal at 8:15 made it 4-1 and chased Blackwood.

”We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots on goal, the puck just didn’t go in,” Devils captain Nico Hischier said.

Hamilton’s shot off the post went in on the short side to give the Devils a 1-0 lead at 13:37 of the first, but the Panthers answered on the goal by Verhaeghe with 6.4 seconds left in the period.

”We had one of the fastest periods we’ve had all year,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. ”We could have had three goals in the first 10 minutes. If you don’t take advantage of those situations, we let a team hang around.”

NOTES: D Damon Severson played in his 500th career game, all with the Devils. … LW Fabian Zetterlund made his NHL debut. … The Panthers were without C Aleksander Barkov (knee), who was injured Tuesday against the New York Islanders and is week-to-week. … After playing each other twice in just more than a week, the teams don’t square off again until Florida visits New Jersey on April 2.

UP NEXT

Devils: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Panthers: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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