LBC Game Preview & Open Forum: Panthers Vs Senators

Joel Auerbach

The Panthers hope to be stingy hosts tonight as they welcome the traditionally tough Senators to Sunrise.

The Panthers return for some home cooking tonight after a substandard two game trip into Canada in which they totalled one goal. They'll be looking to gain a measure of revenge against the visiting Ottawa Senators, who dealt the Cats their first loss of the season on Monday, a 4-0 blanking at the hands of ex-Panther Craig Anderson. Afterward, the Philadelphia Flyers come to town for a game Saturday night. The undefeated Sens will face the Lightning tomorrow night in Tampa Bay before returning home.

More on the last meeting of the two, here at NHL.COM:

Turris scored two goals, while Jim O’Brien and Jakob Silfverberg added two more as Ottawa beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,952 Monday night at Scotiabank Place. Turris now has three goals in two games, while Silfverberg’s goal was the first of his NHL career.

"I feel good," Turris said. "I’ve got a lot of jump."

Craig Anderson garnered his first shutout of the season with 31 saves. It was the 20th shutout of his career.

Jose Theodore kept the Panthers in the game for the majority of the night, making 33 saves.

Both teams came into Ottawa on a high note. Florida was buoyed by their 5-1 thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night, while the Senators went into Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon and beat the Jets, 4-1.

Full Recap - Box Score

Defenseman Brian Campbell tried to calm the frazzled nerves of Panther faithful afterwards:

"Hopefully we can turn this [loss] around and show our fans that we’re ready to work hard and put a good product on the ice," Campbell said. "I thought early in the game, we weren’t going north with the puck, and a lot the times you can’t be too successful if you’re too busy being cute. We’re not that type of team. We need to keep moving forward."

Florida visited the Canadiens in Montreal the following night, but unfortunately experienced similar results. More from NHL.COM:

The Montreal Canadiens were running short on commemorative game pucks Tuesday night as a team with new players, new coaches and new management all collected their first win of the season.

Alex Galchenyuk scored his first NHL goal and defenseman Andrei Markov scored a pair to get the Canadiens on the board for the 2012-13 season with a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.

The victory was the first for coach Michel Therrien in his second stint with the Canadiens, but when he was handed the game puck by goaltender Carey Price he had a thought for his boss instead.

"The first win is always special, but my first thought was for Marc Bergevin," Therrien said. "I've had first wins before, and don't get me wrong -- it was a great win and I really appreciate it, but it was his first win as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. I wanted to make sure he got the puck and he was really happy about it."

Full Recap - Box Score

Stephen Weiss was defensive when asked about there being a sense of urgency in the shortened season:

"I think in the back of your mind, yes, but we're three games in and it's not time to hit the panic button," Weiss said of the sense of urgency the last two games could create. "We've got some new guys, some new faces, and we haven't had a lot of time to practice so we have to learn on the fly. It's not the end of the world, we lost two in a row and we just have to regroup and stay positive."

Game Time: 7:30 PM EST

All-Time Series: Cats are 27-39-7 against the Sens.

Season Series: 0-1-0, second of three contests with the third happening in Florida on April 7th.

Standings:

Florida Panthers: 1-2-0, .333, two points, third in the Southeast Division, tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference, tied for 18th in the NHL. Last five: N/A, on pace for 32 points, playoff odds: 37.2%

Ottawa Senators: 2-0-0, 1.000, four points, second in the Northeast Division, tied for second in the Eastern Conference, tied for third in the NHL. Last five: N/A, on pace for 96 points, playoff odds: 77.1%

Milestones:

Mike Weaver will appear in his 167th game, moving him into a tie with Brad Ference in 49th all-time.

Kris Versteeg's next goal will give him 24, tying him in 48th with Dave Gagner.

If Shawn Matthias lights the lamp tonight, he will pass Mike Van Ryn into 46th all-time, with 26.

With a goal, Tomas Fleischmann will tie Bryan McCabe in 42nd all-time, with 28, and Joe Niewendyk in 47th, with his 64th point.

Ed Jovanovski's next goal will be his 33rd, moving him into a tie for 31st with Valeri Bure.

Brian Campbell will pass Niklas Hagman into 39th all-time with his next assist, his 51st.

Dmitry Kulikov will tie Paul Laus in 31st with his 58th assist.

Today in Panthers History: 2006

The 18-24-7 Panthers visited the Bolts in Tampa Bay to face ex-Panther Sean Burke in net. Olli Jokinen scored twice, including the game winner three minutes into overtime. Chris Gratton also lit the lamp for the Cats. Jozef Stumpel added two assists, and Roberto Luongo stopped an incredible 48-of-50 shots. Good times. Florida is 3-2-3 all-time on January 24th.

Lineups

Florida Panthers

FORWARDS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Tomas Kopecky

Alexei Kovalev - Peter Mueller - Jonathan Huberdeau

Drew Shore - Shawn Matthias - Scottie Upshall

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

DEFENSE

Brian Campbell - Filip Kuba

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Keaton Ellerby - Ed Jovanovski

GOALTENDERS

Jose Theodore - Scott Clemmensen

Ottawa Senators

FORWARDS

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Jakob Silfverberg

Guillame Latendresse - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson

Colin Greening - Zach Smith - Chris Neil

Peter Regin - Jim O'Brien - Erik Condra

DEFENSE

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Mark Borowiecki - Sergei Gonchar

Chris Phillips - Patrik Wiercioch

GOALTENDERS

Craig Anderson - Robin Lehner

Panthers Injury Report:

Kris Versteeg has been put on injured reserve, and there's no timetable for Sean Bergenheim or for Marcel Goc. Erik Gudbranson is also not yet active.

Team Leaders:

Goals
Brian Campbell - 2, four tied at one.

Assists
Jonathan Huberdeau, Alexei Kovalev, Tomas Fleischmann - 2

Points
Jonathan Huberdeau, Alexei Kovalev, Brian Campbell -3

Plus/Minus
Jonathan Huberdeau, Alexei Kovalev, Peter Mueller - plus-1

PIM
Keaton Ellerby - 13, Tomas Fleischmann - 6, Stephen Weiss - 4

Birthdays:
One time Panther forward Esa Tikkanen turns 48 tomorrow. He scored a goal and eight assists for the 1997-98 Panthers.

Around the NHL:
Nine other games on tap for the truly dedicated. At 7PM, the Islanders visit Toronto, the Rangers visit Philadelphia, the Canadiens invade our nation's capital, and the Sabres blow into Raleigh. Later, the Preds visit St. Louis, the Blackhawks are in Dallas, the Blue Jackets take on Colorado, the Kings visit Edmonton, and the Coyotes take on San Jose.

Prognostication:
The Panthers are due. lol

Seriously though, with just a three game sample by which to judge this team, it's impossible to really know what we have on our hands. Will we be like Winnipeg last season - great on home ice, but a pushover on the road? Possible. It's also likely that what we are seeing is the result of a long layoff and unfamiliar linemates. I'm going to play optimist and say that Theo steals this one for us with either a one-hitter or a shutout. Goals by Jack Skille and Tomas Fleischmann. Assists by Stephen Weiss and Jonathan Huberdeau. Anyone else wanna give it a shot? Leave your picks below, and don't forget the game thread goes live at 7PM.

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