Florida hasn’t won three in a row in 14 tries spanning four seasons, and Craig Anderson has the Panther’s number, sporting a 6-0-1 record and a 2.22 GAA against Florida. In spite of historical ineptitude and Florida’s record against Anderson, this team has had three days off, and Ottawa played in Tampa Bay last night.
Florida opened with an assault on Craig Anderson, collecting eight shots in the first five minutes of the period. The Senators, however, would strike first, as Jim O’Brian (1) gathered up a rebound and stuffed the puck home on a wrap-around, beating an out of position Scott Clemmensen. Nick Foligno and Brian Lee assisted on the goal at the six minute mark.
Shawn Matthias (10) would net the equalizer 12 minutes in, streaking into the Ottawa zone and beating Anderson with a wrist shot from the left side. Mike Weaver collected his 14th assist of the season. It was Matthias’ 25th NHL goal, while 14 points this season marks a new career high for Weaver.
Florida took to the man advantage when Tomas Kopecky was hooked by Filip Kuba behind the Ottawa net at the 16 minute mark. Three clears, two saves, a malfunctioning clock, an unfortunate offsides penalty and two minutes later, Kuba charged out of the box with a breakaway chance against Clemmensen. The goalie easily kicked the puck aside.
The Panthers started the second period like they started their first, collecting the first seven shots on goal in the first two minutes.
Again, like in the first, the Senators notched a marker first. Kaspars Daugavins (4) beat Clemmensen between the pads with assists from Brian Lee and Erik Condra at the five minute mark.
Bobby Butler (6) doubled the Ottawa lead just two minutes later as Bobby Butler redirected a pass from Milan Michalek around Clemmensen to make it 3-1. Jason Spezza also earned an assist on the play.
Matt Bradley and Zach Smith dropped the gloves at the eight minute mark. After a few haymakers, Bradley pulled Smith down, ending it, an apparent draw. Each participant was assessed a five-minute fighting penalty.
Chris Phillips was assessed an interference penalty on Mikael Samuelsson at the 12 minute mark putting the Cats up a man. He was joined just under two minutes later by Sergei Gonchar who was called for high sticking Brian Campbell. After an 11 second five on three, Phillips rejoined the action on the ice. Daniel Alfredsson (20) charged up the ice and scored a shorthanded goal with an assist awarded to Daugavins.
After allowing all four goals on Ottawa’s first 16 shots, Clemmensen was pulled in favor of Jose Theodore with six minutes remaining in the period.
At the 17 minute mark, the Senators were awarded their first power play of the evening when Stephen Weiss was called for slashing Nick Foligno.
The Senators didn’t take long to add to their lead, scoring just under two minutes into the third. Milan Michalek (25) beat Theodore with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle to put Ottawa up 5-1. Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson earned assists on the play.
Florida went on the power play at the three minute mark when Daniel Alfredsson was called for delay of game, accidentally sending the puck over the glass. Brian Campbell (4) gathered a rebound and let loose a fadeaway slapshot to beat Anderson, cutting the lead to three with 16 minutes to play in regulation. Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Fleischmann were awarded the assists on the goal.
Colin Greening slashed Tomas Fleischmann at the 11 minute mark, but Florida couldn’t get anything going, as the Senators repeatedly cleared the puck out.
Florida was called for too many men on the ice, nine to be exact as John Madden skated through the neutral zone with six minutes remaining. The Senators resultant power play was productive for a former Panther, as Filip Kuba (1) one-timed a cross ice pass from the right faceoff circle from Jason Spezza. Spezza’s assist was his third of the night. Daniel Alfredsson earned the secondary assist on the play.
What followed was an extended scrum featuring the Senators’ Zach Smith and the Panthers’ Matt Bradley, for the second time this evening. Tyson Strachan and Jack Skille were also involved. The Senators skated out of the mess with another power play. The Cats didn’t make things better, as the Panthers’ bench was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, making the action five-on-three. Skille skated out of the box for a breakaway chance, but missed his shot.
Hits: Panthers, 37-24 (Matt Bradley collected a game high seven, while Mike Weaver had six for the Panthers. Jared Cowen led the Senators with three).
Blocked Shots: Panthers, 19-10 (Erik Gudbranson blocked four to lead Florida, Erik Condra and Chris Neil led Ottawa with two each).
Faceoffs: Panthers, 35-28 (Stephen Weiss won 10 of 16 chances, Shawn Matthias won eight of 12. Ottawa was led by Jason Spezza, who won nine of his 17 faceoff chances).
Shots on Goal: Panthers, 44-31 (Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Santorelli each took five swipes at the puck. Bobby Butler led the Senators with four).
Score: Senators 6, Panthers 2
Even though the Panthers dropped the game, they are still four points up on second place Washington. It was Florida’s sixth home regulation loss of the season, tied with the New York Rangers for the fewest in the Eastern Conference. Florida will face the Washington Capitals on Friday in their next game action.