Tonight, the Panthers will play host to the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 PM in Sunrise at the BB&T Center. It's the second of four contests between Florida and Ottawa this season. The Sens took out the Cats, 3-2 on November 9th. The Panthers go back to Ottawa on December 19th, with the final engagement down in Florida on March 25th.
Florida will be appearing in the fourth game of a five-game homestand. After defeating the Flyers, 3-1 last Monday, they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Rangers on Wednesday. They endured a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the Penguins on Saturday. They'll finish up against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
The Senators are coming off a two-game road trip. They lost to the Canucks, 5-2 on Thursday and the Red Wings 4-2 on Sunday night. They'll head to Tampa Bay to take on the Bolts on Thursday before heading back home again.
The Panthers and the Senators last played on November 9th as the 6-6-4 Senators hosted the 3-9-4 Panthers. Tim Thomas allowed two goals, to Kyle Turris (4) and Mika Zibanejad (4), in just over two minutes to start the game. Nick Bjugstad (2) halved the lead two minutes later with a Tomas Kopecky helper. Clarke MacArthur (3) made it 3-1 on the power play in the second, and Marcel Goc (5) closed out the scoring halfway through the third with an assist from Matt Gilroy. Thomas ended up with a strong 29-for-32 performance, while counterpart Robin Lehner turned aside 26-of-28 Panthers shots for the victory.
Panthers @ Senators Highlights 11/09/13 (via NHL)
Brand-new Panther's coach Peter Horachek addressed the media afterward:
You put yourself behind the eight-ball in the first couple of minutes of the game, you're down 2-0 on unforced errors, so we did it to ourselves. Maybe the guys were a little bit nervous or something, I don't know, but that was kind of a tough situation to fight back. But I think there were moments of effort that were good. We just certainly can't put ourselves in that situation.
Silver Seven has Ottawa's point of view.
Florida lost to the Penguins, 5-1 on Saturday. Pittsburgh scored four times on only 13 shots against starting goaltender Tim Thomas before Panther's coach Peter Horachek called on Scott Clemmensen (eight-of-nine saves) to step in. Scottie Upshall (6, PP) tallied the only Panthers goal, with assists from Jonathan Huberdeau and Brian Campbell. Jeff Zatkoff stopped the Panthers other 39 shots for the Pens victory. Jussi Jokinen, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Joe Vitale, and Evgeni Malkin scored Pittsburgh's goals. Malkin also pitched in three assists on the night.
Penguins @ Panthers Highlights 11/30/13 (via NHL)
Thomas put the disappointing effort into plain English afterwards:
We're battling through adversity. We're working hard. We got 40 shots tonight. Their goalie played extremely well. The Penguins were opportunistic, but we're shooting ourselves in the foot, myself included. That first goal shot the big toe off, and a couple of the other goals we shot a couple of the other toes off.
That's happening on a relatively consistent basis. That's something that we have to find a way to eliminate. I'm almost tired of saying it, but it's true … we're doing a lot of good things in a lot of areas, but then when we do make mistakes, they seem to be huge mistakes and they end up in the back of our net.
Go to PensBurgh for all of your Penguins news.
Ottawa dropped their last game, on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings. Clarke MacArthur (8) and Mika Zibanejad (8) earned the Senators goals, while Johan Franzen (7), Drew Miller (3, 4), and ex-Senator Daniel Alfredsson (7, EN) tallied Detroit's as the Sens dropped a 4-2 decision. Jonas Gustavsson made 30 saves in the win, while Lehner stopped 19-of-22 for Ottawa.
Senators' standout Erik Karlsson spoke about Alfredsson's first homecoming since signing with Detroit:
I mean, obviously it was a special game and it was fun to see the ovation he got, and it was probably nice to get it over with as well for him. I think the fans handled it really well and gave him the applause he deserved, and then during the game they cheered for the Sens as normal.
Go to Winging it in Motown for news on the Red Wings.
Game Time: 7:30 PM ET
All-Time Series: The Panthers are 28-41-3-4 all-time against the Senators, a .414 points percentage.
Season Series: Second of four meetings. Ottawa won a regulation length match in early November, 3-2.
Florida Panthers: 7-15-5, .352, 19 points, on pace for 58 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference, 29th in the NHL. Last Five: L-O-W-L-L.
Ottawa Senators: 10-13-4, .444, 24 points, on pace for 73 points. Sixth in the Atlantic Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference, 24th in the NHL. Last Five: W-L-W-L-L.
Check back later for the Game Thread, going live at 7 PM. Ottawa is talking Sens in the meantime, at Silver Seven.