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Kevin Spacey cheers for Panthers

'House of Cards' actor dons 'Spacey in Space' sweatshirt at BB&T Center

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

Kevin Spacey embraced by Panthers

DET@FLA: Kevin Spacey relishes Panthers and the fans

3/19/16: Kevin Spacey is welcomed by the public address announcer at BB&T Center in Florida to the delight of Panthers fans

  • 01:41 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers didn't get to hand out their "Spacey in Space" hoodie Saturday because they lost to the Detroit Red Wings, but the man behind the craze was a big presence at BB&T Center.

The Panthers handed out 10,000 Kevin Spacey cut-out faces on sticks, and the Oscar-winning actor got a standing ovation when he revealed his face behind one on the BB&T Center videoboard during a second-period stoppage.

Spacey, who was shown a few more times during Florida's 5-3 loss, visited the Panthers locker room after the game. 

"He came in after, we said 'hi' to him," center Nick Bjugstad said. "It wasn't as fun as if we would have won, the environment in the locker room. We're down a little bit. We definitely appreciate him coming down, supporting the team. It's cool seeing him on the Jumbotron. The fans got real excited for that. It's cool seeing support from different markets and more people."

Florida center Aleksander Barkov said Spacey congratulated him on his recent contract extension. 

Tweet from @KevinSpacey: Thank you @flapanthers and all the fans for such a wonderful welcome tonight https://t.co/FaIpkflj8M

"He said he wanted a piece of it," Barkov said.

Spacey has become a good-luck charm for the Panthers this season, with the player of the game after a win being awarded a "Spacey in Space" sweatshirt. The blue hoodie depicts a disembodied Spacey face floating in space.

The Panthers asked fans throughout the first and second period to show their "Spacey Facey" before the actor was revealed at 8:07 of the second period. Spacey was wearing the "Spacey in Space" hoodie.

Spacey again was shown celebrating Teddy Purcell's goal at 12:48 of the second period.

The "House of Cards" and "American Beauty" actor posted a video on Twitter on Thursday indicating he would be at the game against Detroit.

With Spacey in attendance, the game against the Red Wings drew 20,817, the largest crowd ever to watch a Panthers regular-season game.

"It was pretty cool seeing Kevin Spacey in the stands," said Detroit forward Dylan Larkin, who had a goal and an assist. "The crowd got pretty crazy, so that was a cool moment. I don't watch 'House of Cards' or anything like that, but he's a great actor. I'm a fan."

Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said he's a big "House of Cards" fan.

"I'm in the middle of Season 4," he said. "It's nice to see Mr. President in the stands."

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said Spacey is one of his two favorite actors, along with Kevin Bacon, and joked he was working on finding a way to meet him.

The "Spacey in Space" craze started in December when the Panthers were on a 12-game winning streak, the longest in their history.

The Panthers have been reluctant to reveal details about the origin of the Spacey sweatshirt.

"There's no secret," Bjugstad said after the morning skate Saturday. "That can't be revealed, I guess, so there is a secret. There's nothing to it. We're a fan of his and he seems like a good guy."

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