When you have 7 regulars injured and what amounts to 2 AHL lines playing, at some point you'll just have to settle with the overtime loss. We've all seen the effort the Florida Panthers play with each and every game and their absolute hunger to win, but some deficits are too big to overcome. Again the Panthers played as well as they could, but there was just too much talent on the IR to make a bang on the ice. On top of that, losing your undeclared captain in the first few minutes of the game would take the wind out of any team's sails.
The important note to make is that despite the Panthers playing back on their heels all night, they were able to battle back and force overtime, something a lot of clubs can't do even with all of the regulars playing. Florida did so with 4 AHLers and a bunch of fourth-liners. If that doesn't speak to the character of this battered Panthers club, what does?
- For your Senators perspective, head to Silver Seven
1st: Scott Clemmensen would get his 5th start of the season for the Cats and old friend Craig Anderson would start the game for Ottawa. Early on Sergei Gonchar would take a tripping penalty to give Florida a man advantage. Anderson would be tested a few times but keep the rebounds to a minimum as the penalty was killed off. Shawn Matthias would be the first Panther headed to the penalty box with a trip on Colin Greening, and it wouldn't take long for the Senators to capitalize. Erik Karlsson would send a wrist shot towards Clemmensen, and Chris Neil would tip the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead. Towards the end of the period, Ottawa would take a too many men penalty with Bobby Butler volunteering to take a seat. The period would end 1-0.
2nd: The powerplay wouldn't pay off, and a big hit behind the net from Nick Foligno on Keaton Ellerby would result in a 5 minute charging penalty call and a game misconduct. Ellerby would skate off a little shaken up but it was certainly a scary hit considering the Panthers' penchant for injuries. To put it nicely, that was the absolute worst powerplay of the season...until the Panthers scored. Michal Repik would redirect a Kris Versteeg shot from the point into the net, but it would be reviewed to see if he had intentionally kicked the puck. The call on the ice stood, evening the score at 1-1. Ottawa would enjoy a few odd-man rushes and hit the post after the goal, but it seemed with all the new players in the lineup Florida was the faster of the two teams. With 1:30 left Erik Condra would save a goal when he cleared the puck off of the goal line after Matthias' shot slipped through Anderson. The period would end all tied up at 1.
3rd: Florida would start the period primarily in their own zone with Ottawa holding the puck in as if it were a powerplay. Dmitry Kulikov would hit Zack Smith from behind earning a penalty, and the captain Daniel Alfredsson would tip in a goal as Clemmensen misplayed the puck at the side of the net. Condra would take a penalty when he tripped Brian Campbell behind the net, despite some pretty good acting from Campbell. One goal defecit? No problem for the Panthers! Shawn Matthias took the slap shot from the top of the circles beating Anderson stick-side to even the game yet again. Not for long though, Karlsson would have none of that responding with his own goal from the point to regain the lead 3-2. With Clemmensen pulled and 1:20 left in the game Versteeg would make a beautiful pass to Tomas Kopecky, who would toe drag the puck and lift it over a sprawled Anderson to tie the game and head to overtime. Panthers steal themselves a point.
Overtime: All eyes were on Kyle Turris as he skated into the zone, but it would be Bobby Butler who'd end it when his pass deflected off of Campbell's skate and through Clemmensen's five hole. Senators beat Florida again, final score 4-3.
- Not exactly sure what happened, but after the Senators goal Stephen Weiss disappeared from the bench for the rest of the game. The Upper Body Ninja strikes again.
- Tomas Kopecky must be terribly annoying to play against. He's a pretty good forechecker.
- Michal Repik was about the only good forward on the 5 minute powerplay in the second period. Seriously, if the powerplay regulars enjoy casual skating time on the man advantage, give players like Repik the opportunity to do something.
- Fleischmann's assist was his first point in 5 games. Good to see him back on the scoresheet.
- If Weiss is out for long, I think we all know who needs to fill in his spot. Matthias has played like a first liner for quite some time now.
- Despite 2 powerplay goals tonight, the powerplay looks absolutely terrible. Talk about giving the Senators a chance for a shorthanded goal or 3. The penalty killing has been even worse.
- Gotta love Dennis Potvin, at least he's passionate.
- I thought Clemmensen played pretty well, besides his one mistake the other 3 goals were deflections or screened shots.
- I'm a bit amazed the Panthers scored 3 goals with 7 regulars out of the lineup. The fact that Matt Bradley assisted on the Kopecky goal speaks for itself.
Up Next: One last trip to Beantown as the Panthers take on the Boston Bruins. No Milan Lucic inflicted injuries please, we've had enough.