Knight helps Panthers avoid elimination with Game 5 win against Lightning


SUNRISE, Fla. — Spencer Knight made 36 saves in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut, and the Florida Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in Game 5 of their first-round series at BB&T Center on Monday.

Tampa Bay leads the series 3-2 and hosts Game 6 on Wednesday.

MacKenzie Weegar and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist, and Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau each had two assists for the Panthers, the No. 2 seed in the Discover Central Division.

Ross Colton scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves for the No. 3-seeded Lightning.

Knight, who turned 20 on April 19, made 21 saves in the first period after Tampa Bay scored on its first shot of the game.

Colton gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the first period after Blake Coleman skated around Keith Yandle at center ice and fed a centering pass on a 2-on-1.

Weegar tied it 1-1 at 6:19 of the second period with a wrist shot off a face-off. Weegar scored high on the glove side with teammate Owen Tippett and Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh screening Vasilevskiy.

Mason Marchment gave Florida a 2-1 lead at 16:55 with a one-timer in the slot off a feed from Barkov from behind the net.

Hornqvist increased the lead to 3-1 at 35 seconds of the third period with a power-play goal when Barkov’s one-timer when off him after he had been knocked down in front of the net.

Frank Vatrano scored into an empty net at 19:45 for the 4-1 final.

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