Goaltender Roberto Luongo saw a ton of rubber early on, as the Ottawa Senators were absolutely dominating the Florida Panthers on their way to a 2-0 lead second period lead. Luckily for Louie, the two-goal deficit was just what the doctor ordered for the rest of his mates, as the slumbering Cats woke up and rallied to post a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Senators.
Luongo finished with 37 saves and the Panthers got oh so pretty shootout goals from youngsters Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri to shake off the two ugly losses they suffered in SoCal over the weekend.
The Senators came out and took it to a disinterested bunch of Cats during a scoreless opening period, outshooting Florida by a hefty 20-10 margin. Only the heroics of Luongo prevented this from becoming an early blowout, as he was able to come up big on some high-quality chances.
Ottawa finally broke through when Mark Stone notched his second goal of the season, from Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris, at the 11:34 mark of the middle frame.
The Panthers began tilting the ice in their favor, but Clarke MacArthur's tip-in, power-play marker at 16:11 put them down by two. Ottawa got the man-advantage thanks to a hooking call on Scottie Upshall.
Sean Bergenheim lit the lamp for the Panthers, just 1:11 after the MacArthur goal, to cut Ottawa's lead in half. Bergenheim took a pass from Brian Campbell and quickly one-timed it off the pipe past Senators goaler Robin Lehner. Rookie Nick Bjugstad posted his 33rd point with the secondary helper.
Trocheck tied the game 23 seconds later, netting the third goal of his burgeoning NHL career, with the assists going to Upshall and Tomas Fleischmann, who picked up a much-needed point.
The teams finally started to play defense, there were only a combined 13 shots on goal, in the final period and after a scoreless extra session, which included a Panthers fail on the power play, the game went to a shootout.
Turris beat Luongo to open the skills competition, but was answered by a jaw-dropping effort from Trocheck, who practically deked Lehner out of his hockey pants.
After a Jason Spezza miss, Pirri found the back of the net to give Florida the advantage and Luongo stoned Milan Michalek to give the Panthers the victory.
Flotsam & Jetsam
- The win was the second for the Cats against the Sens this year, but Ottawa took the season-series by getting past regulation, five points to four.
- After starting the game getting totally outshot, the Panthers ended up outshooting the Senators 41-39. So yeah, Robin Lehner was pretty busy too.
- Luongo came up absolutely money when he robbed a wide-open Marc Methot in the slot in overtime, inducing much swooning from the beautiful babies at the BB&T Center.
- It looked Bergenheim had another goal in the first period, but an untimely whistle foiled things for Bergie and the Cats.
- The fading Senators have now dropped seven of their last eight games, accumulating 3 loser points along the way.
- Winger Jesse Winchester returned after missing eight games. Winchester logged 13:54 of ice time and finished with four shots on goal and an even rating.
- The Senators had a hard time dealing with the size and strength of Nick Bjugstad. In addition to the assist, the big rookie pivot took a game-high eight shots.
- I was kind of hoping the Sens would sport their new road Heritage Classic sweaters last night. The Senators need to ditch that lame centurion and adopt that old-time hockey look full time next season. Best uniforms in the NHL hands down, in my humble opinion.
- If you're a fan of a capital punishment, visit Ottawa's shiny Silver Seven for more on the game.