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Ottawa Senators Visit Florida Panthers: Game 56 Preview

The Panthers try to win their fourth straight game for the 14th time since winning seven straight in 2008. Does Ottawa have anything left after last night's shutout win in Tampa Bay?

Florida will be hosting the Ottawa Senators today at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. This is the third of four meetings this season between the two teams, and the first of two in Florida. Florida has a 14-5-7 home record, while the Senators boast a 14-11-5 record away from Ottawa. Florida is starting a four game homestand. They go on to host the Washington Captials on Friday, the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, and the Minnesota Wild next Thursday. The Senators are in the second game of a three game roadtrip. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-0 last night and continue after tonights game to face the New York Islanders on Monday.

The Senators took a 4-3 overtime victory on December 22nd in Ottawa in the last meeting between these two teams. For Florida, Michal Repik (1) scored in the second, Shawn Matthias (6) notched a power play goal in the third, and Tomas Kopecky (5) scored with a minute left in regulation to guarantee the Panthers at least one point. Bobby Butler (3) ruined it with a slapshot in overtime, while Chris Neil (4), Daniel Alfredsson (10), and Erik Karlsson (4) also scored for the Senators. Scott Clemmensen allowed four goals on 26 shots for the loss, while Craig Anderson saved 32 of 35 Panthers shots in victory. Butler spoke with the media regarding his overtime game winner after the game, according to NHL.COM,

"I was down by the left dot and (Turris) just saw me and threw it at me," Butler said after scoring his first goal since Nov. 15. "Good things happen when you put it to the net."

Panthers @ Senators 12/22/11 (via NHLVideo)

In Florida's last action, the Panthers won their third in a row at Nassau Coliseum, beating the New York Islanders, 4-1 on Sunday. Tyson Strachan (1) scored his first ever NHL goal in the first, while Tomas Fleischmann (18) scored the game winner with four minutes gone in the second, Kris Versteeg (22) added a power play goal seven minutes later, and Jack Skille (3) capped it with a wrister off a faceoff with one minute remaining in the period. Frans Neilsen (10) scored the lone marker for New York. Jose Theodore marked a triumphant return to the starting lineup with 26 saves on 27 New York shots, while Evgeny Nabokov allowed all four goals on 15 shots for the loss, and was pulled in favor of Al Montoya in the third. Panther's coach Kevin Dineen spoke to the media regarding the uncharacteristic two game back-to-back road wins following the game,

"It was a good weekend for us … that was two solid games," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "It's satisfying. You go out, you play hard and you get rewarded like that. I thought our all-around effort was good."

Panthers @ Islanders 02/12/12 (via NHLVideo)

The Senators shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-0 in Tampa Bay last night. Erik Karlsson (10) scored in the first, and Jason Spezza notched a hat trick, scoring on the power play in the second, an even strength goal midway through the third, and an empty netter with one minute remaining for the victory. Ex-Panther Craig Anderson stopped all 28 shots for his 19th career shutout, and second this season. Mattieu Garon allowed three goals on 26 shots for the loss. Lightning coach Guy Boucher spoke to the media regarding Tampa Bay's lack of offense against the Senators,

"We just couldn't score again," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We're playing Ken Dryden when we play Ottawa. Three games in a row we get wide open nets and wide open opportunities, and either he (Anderson) makes a save or we miss the net."

Season Series: 0-0-1

All-Time Series: 26-37-7

Game Time: 7:30 ET



Florida Panthers: 27-17-11, 65 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 12th NHL, on pace for 97 points. Last five: L-L-W-W-W, Playoff chances: 91.2%

Ottawa Senators: 29-22-8, 66 points, second Northeast Division, seventh Eastern Conference, 11th NHL, on pace for 92 points. Last five: L-L-W-O-W Playoff chances: 62.7%

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.