NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 25th (All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (29-29-13) at Florida Panthers (26-38-8), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After snapping their longest winless drought of the season, the Ottawa Senators look to breathe life into their playoff hopes on Tuesday night as they visit the Florida Panthers.
The Senators carried an 0-4-2 drought into last night's encounter with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and despite blowing a two-goal lead left town with a 4-3 shootout decision.
It gave Ottawa its first victory since March 8 and the club will try to win two in a row for the first time since Feb. 4-6. The Sens' recent drought knocked the club nine points back of a wild card spot.
Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza all scored in regulation for the Senators, who failed to hold a 3-1 lead but got the extra point when Spezza scored the only shootout tally.
Spezza, Ottawa's second shooter, entered the zone and moved the puck back and forth several times before releasing a wrister that fooled Lightning netminder Ben Bishop and found twine in the top right corner.
"I don't think I am reinventing the wheel. I just slowed down and made a couple of stickhandles and waited for the right time to shoot it," said Spezza on his move in the shootout.
Robin Lehner made 35 saves before going perfect in the shootout for Ottawa.
Karlsson, who scored in a third straight game, also had two assists to run his point streak to seven straight games. The defenseman has 11 points over his run and leads all NHL blueliners with 20 goals and 68 points.
Though winger Bobby Ryan is expected to miss a second straight game with a lower-body injury, netminder Craig Anderson may make his first start since suffering an upper-body injury on March 10. He dressed as the backup to Lehner on Monday and is 10-2-1 with a 2.06 goals against average and two shutouts lifetime versus the Panthers.
Florida returns home for three straight following a four-game road trip. The Panthers began the swing with a big win over the San Jose Sharks, but were outscored 12-3 in losing the final three contests.
The Panthers concluded the trip with a 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Jimmy Hayes and Tomas Fleischmann scored in a 2:01 span of the second period to pull Florida within one before Anaheim pulled away.
"They've (the Ducks) had a little adversity lately but you had to be ready for a big push out of them," Panthers goaltender Dan Ellis said after making 34 saves.
Roberto Luongo figures to get the start in net tonight for Florida and is 10-11-0 lifetime versus the Senators with a 2.89 GAA.
The Panthers lost their first two meetings with the Sens this season before notching a 4-2 victory in Ottawa on Dec. 19.
The Senators have won 13 of the previous 16 meetings overall and eight of the last 11 played in Florida.
03/25 10:48:14 ET