The Panthers came into Ottawa riding high on victories over the Toronto Maple Leafs (expected) and the Montreal Canadiens (surprise). What they found was a deck stacked high against them as they faced off against both the Ottawa Senators and their "victory delegates" in black and white. Ottawa skated off with a 4-1 victory.
Now, I'm not normally one to cry foul at bad officiating, but the ice was noticably slanted toward Roberto Luongo's crease for most of the game. Jussi Jokinen took an obvious targeted head shot, requiring a trip to the dressing room, no less, only to see the Panthers awarded a two-minute minor. This, while Dmitry Kulikov sits out a four game stretch on a questionable call that was surely no worse than what we witnessed here tonight. Luckily, Jokinen returned to action later.
The first period would see the Senators outshoot the Panthers 16-to-7, but end the frame with just one goal apiece. Aleksander Barkov started it off with his ninth marker of the season seven and-a-half minutes into it, with a perfect pass from Jonathan Huberdeau. Brian Campbell also got an assist on the play. Three minutes later, Kyle Turris tied it with his 14th goal, off assists from Mark Stone and Milan Michalek.
In the second, Jared Cowen was whistled for interfering with Jussi Jokinen about five minutes in, but as described above, it really did look a lot worse than a two-minute penalty. Nonetheless, the Panthers were unable to capitalize with the man-advantage. Shawn Thornton intercepted Cowen two minutes later when the latter was emerging from the penalty box for a quick trading of pleasantries. The fight was arguably a draw, but kept up the recent trend of Panthers sticking up for their teammates. Bobby Ryan put the Sens on top for good with 8:40 gone in the period, with his 15th of the season on assists from Kyle Turris and Alex Chiasson.
The third period would see Ottawa put the Panthers hope to rest with two goals, from Erik Karlsson (14) and Curtis Lazar (3).
Check back here in the morning for Todd's AM recap, a scouting report around 11, the Caterwaul around 2, and faceoff against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 6PM.