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Game Day Preview: Ottawa Senators at Florida Panthers

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Florida: 29-36-12 (70PTS)
Ottawa: 29-38-10 (68PTS)
Season Series: 0-3-0
Race to the Bottom: 30 EDM (57), 29 COL (64), 28 OTT (68), 27 NYI (70), 26 FLA (70), 25 NJD (75)
Record before and after the trade deadline: 26-29-7 (59PTS) .476 / 3-7-5 (11PTS) .367

The Panthers host the Senators tonight in the Race to the Bottom. Both teams are ending difficult seasons. The Sens started their rebuild by shipping away Mike Fisher and the Brian Elliott and bringing in Colorado Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson, among other moves. The Panthers continued theirs by trading Michael Frolik and then dumping most of their veteran players at the trade deadline. Tonight the Senators will be looking to sweep the season series, the Panthers will be hoping to actually get a win against one of the few teams behind them in the standings and the fans will be hoping to stay awake during the game.

Last meeting: The Senators beat the Panthers 2-1 in a post-trade deadline borefest on March 10. Fans started leaving the game early, when the score was still 1-0 Senators.

Last game: The Panthers lost 3-2 in a shootout to another basement dwelling team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. David Booth scored his 22nd goal in the game, tying his previous second best season total.

Notes: Marty Reasoner was injured in the last game, but appears ok to play tonight.

Injuries: Tomas Vokoun, back, day to day (3/27/2011). Alexander Sulzer, groin, day to day (3/29/2011). Shawk Matthias, ankle, day to day (3/25/2011). Jack Skille, ankle, day to day (3/25/2011). Scott Timmins, concussion, unknown (3/10/2011). Rostislav Olesz, knee, out for the season (2/25/2011). Byron Bitz (IR), sports hernia, out for the season.

Starting goaltenders: Backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen will face former Panthers backup Craig Anderson. The two goaltenders met previously in Ottawa on Feb 23, just after Anderson was traded by the Colorado Avalanche. The Senators won that game 5-1. Anderson also allowed only 1 goal in the Senators win on March 10.

Lines:
Forwards:
Bergfors - Weiss - Samsonov
Booth - Reasoner - Dadonov
Rissmiller - Santorelli - Repik
Hordichuk - Carter - Bernier

Defense:
Weaver-Garrison
Kulikov-Ellerby
Callahan-Wilson

This game is the last weeknight home game. After tonight the Cats will have only four left, two road games and two Saturday home games, against the Penguins and Capitals. At this point, the only real questions remaining for the Panthers' season are: will any regulars be back for the last game of the season and where are we drafting? The best we can hope for is to get a look at Tyler Plante this weekend or next week and to wreck the Capitals' chances to take the top spot in the conference away from the Atlantic Division. Tonight's game will probably be another dud.

The Sens announced earlier today they had signed Merrimack standout Stephane Da Costa. More from our Ottawa cohorts at Silver Seven.

Senators vs Panthers coverage at SBNation.com.