Panthers likely starting Spencer Knight in Game 5

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It looks like the Panthers are turning to a third goalie in their hopes to push the Lightning to a sixth game in their First Round series.

Even though head coach Joel Quenneville did not confirm it or make an official announcement, all signs are pointing to rookie Spencer Knight making his first career playoff start in Game 5 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET; CNBC).

When asked if Knight is getting the start, Quenneville simply responded with “could be.”

His mind games aside, Knight spent Sunday’s practice and Monday’s morning skate occupying the starter’s net. He was the first goalie off the ice on Monday, while Sergei Bobrovsky was the netminder who spent time working after practice, indicating he may not even dress as the backup.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

The Panthers have spent the first four games alternating back and forth between Bobrovsky and Chris Driedger with no positive results. It is hard to put all of the blame on the goalies, but the bottom line is neither one has played well and Florida is paying Bobrovsky $10M a year to make tough saves in big games.

So the carousel spins on for Monday.

Knight is one of the Panthers’ top prospects and one of the top goalie prospects in the league. The 2019 first-round pick appeared in four games during the regular season with a 4-0 record and a .919 save percentage. He just turned 20 years old a little more than a month ago, and now he is the player the Panthers are turning to to try and save their season.

PANTHERS VS. LIGHTNING (TB leads 3-1) – series livestream link

Game 1Lightning 5, Panthers 4
Game 2Lightning 3, Panthers 1
Game 3Panthers 6, Lightning 5 (OT)
Game 4: Lightning 6, Panthers 2
Monday, May 24: Lightning at Panthers, 8 p.m. ET (CNBC)
*Wednesday, May 26: Panthers at Lightning TBD
*Friday, May 28: Lightning at Panthers TBD

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.