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Panthers dole out some capital punishment in 7-2 rout of Senators

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Cats pull within a point of New Jersey in wild card race

NHL: Florida Panthers at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

After struggling to light the lamp Monday night in Montreal, the Florida Panthers brought a balanced attack, getting goals from seven different players, to Canada’s capital, routing the Ottawa Senators by a 7-2 count to break the 80-point plateau.

The Cats opened the scoring 2:36 into the action after Derek MacKenzie’s won a faceoff in the offensive zone. Micheal Haley sent the puck back to Mark Pysyk and his shot from the point deflected off of Colton Sceviour’s pants on its way by Craig Anderson.

Ottawa tied the game at 12:48 when Patrick Sieloff’s blast from the point hit the side of the net, caromed off the end boards, then James Reimer’s back and into the goal. The assists went to Tom Pyatt, for beating Aleksander Barkov on a draw, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau for dropping the puck to Sieloff, who was playing in just his second big-league game.

Keith Yandle put the Panthers back on top with 4:04 left in the opening frame when he picked the corner on Anderson’s blocker side with a pretty wrist shot after Jonathan Huberdeau sprung the defenseman and Denis Malgin on a 2-on-1 break.

Evgenii Dadonov got Florida off to good start in the second period, ripping in a hard cross-ice pass from Barkov at the 2:15 mark for his 23rd goal. Nick Bjugstad collected the assist for digging the puck free on the boards and feeding down low to Barkov.

Jared McCann chased Anderson at 7:19 when he tracked down Jamie’s McGinn’s clear after it eluded Marian Gaborik at center and beat the veteran goaltender stick side on the ensuing breakaway.

Gaborik made up for his gaffe 6:33 later when gathered in a Dadonov turnover along the side boards and beat Reimer with a long shot from a few feet above the right circle.

Frank Vatrano took a nice pass from Yandle in the high slot and rifled a wrister by replacement keeper Mike Condon at 16:13 to quickly restore Florida’s three-goal advantage. The second assist on Vatrano’s third in six games as a Panther went to McCann.

Bjugstad finished off a 2-on-1 break with Dadonov, who got the primary assist, after Barkov sent the pair into the Ottawa zone with speed after a nifty little play in the neutral zone. The goal came 51 seconds after Vatrano’s tally and finished off Florida’s four-goal second period outburst.

McGinn scored the only goal of the third period at 12:08 when he shoveled a backhander through Condon’s pads from a sharp angle. The marker, assisted by Vatrano and McCann, capped off a series off crisp passes that moved the puck up the ice.

Florida’s 15th road win of the season, coupled with New Jersey’s 6-2 loss to San Jose, pulled the streaking club within one point of the Devils for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand. The Panthers will finish off its three-game road trip in Columbus on Thursday night, a matchup between two of the league’s hottest team.

Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)

Law & Order

  • Jared McCann’s helper on Jamie McGinn’s final goal gave the young forward the first three-point game in his NHL career.
  • James Reimer took the crease and made 33 saves to pick up his 18th win of the campaign. Reimer has won five of his six 2018 starts.
  • Patrick Sieloff scored in his only other NHL game, for the Calgary Flames in April, 2016. The defenseman has scored three goals in 99 AHL games the past two seasons.
  • Frank Vatrano had his first multi-point game as a Panther and led all skaters with a whopping eight shots on goal.
  • Cody Ceci paced the Senators with five shots on net. He also had three blocks, dished out a hit and was one of two Ottawa players to finish with an even rating.
  • The Panthers did a good job of staying out of the penalty box, with only Micheal Haley and Mike Matheson taking minors. The Cats killed off both infractions.
  • Craig Anderson exited the game with 13 saves. Mike Condon stopped 19 of 22 shots in relief.
  • Silver Seven Sens has the other side of Florida’s second win over the Senators this season.

Condensed Game (courtesy of NHL.com)