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Recap: Panthers claim first Presidents’ Trophy with 4-0 win over Senators

Checkered Cats blank Ottawa to finish tops in the NHL

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Carter Verhaeghe scored twice and Spencer Knight stopped all 27 shots to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators in the club’s penultimate game of the 2021-22 season, the most successful in the club’s history.

The win, coupled with Colorado’s 5-4 shootout loss to Nashville, clinched the team’s first-ever Presidents’ Trophy.

Knight collected his 19th win, and second shutout of his young career. Not bad... for a human rookie.

After a lackluster showing Tuesday against the Boston Bruins, the Cats made a bevy of roster changes, including three call-ups from the Charlotte Checkers and brought a much better effort to the Canadian capital.

The club’s two Sams combined for the game-opening goal at the 6:01 mark when Sam Bennett stole the puck from Drake Batherson down low and held on to it for abit before feeding Samson Reinhart, who pumped once and then let go the second time to beat Filip Gustavsson.

The duo would figure in Florida’s second goal as well. This time it was Bennett lighting the lamp by going to the net to knock in Anthony Duclair’s rebound 1:11 into the third with the secondary assist going to Reinhart to give the Panthers some breathing room. He didn’t get a point, but props to Lucas Carlsson for making a nice play to keep the puck in the Ottawa end.

Verhaeghe delivered the dagger just twenty-one seconds later, converting Eetu Luostarinen’s crossing pass by going up high to solve Gustavsson. Maxim Mamim got the second assist for helping move the puck up the boards after Robert Hagg cleared the Florida zone. Nice job by Luostarinen to poke the puck by a Senators defender at the blue line to create an odd-man situation.

That trio would all collect their second points of the night at 13:08 when Verhaeghe got behind the defense to receive a bouncing pass from The Maminal, who had just taken a drop from Luostrainen, swatting it home for his 24th goal of the season. Game over, man. Game over,

After playing a couple duds, the Panthers delivered a much more energetic and complete performance against the seventh-place Senators to post their 58th victory. With forwards Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Claude Giroux, and defensemen Gustav Forsling and MacKenzie Weegar out as healthy scratches, the Cats added Checkers Cole Schwindt, Aleksi Heponiemi and Matt Kiersted to lineup and still managed to produce four goals and 30 shots. The league’s top team will finish the regular season tonight in Montreal and finally find out whether they will meet the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.

Law & Order

  • With his brace, First Star Carter Verhaeghe hit 55 points. Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett and Ottawa defenseman Artem Zub each had a game-high four shots on goal.
  • Maxim Mamim is up seven goals and seven assists after delivering his third multi-point game of the season. Mamim saw a career-high 15:44 TOI and made the most of it with two assists, two shots, a block and +2 rating.
  • Filip Gustavsson finished with 26 saves and saw his record drop to 5-12-1 and GAA increase to 3.55.
  • Cole Schwindt produced one shot on goal and a block in 14:14 TOI; Aleksi Heponiemi played 12:33 and took a hi-sticking minor; while Matt Kiersted registered two shots, two hits, a block and tripped Brady Tkachuk while logging 19:43 of ice time.
  • The penalty kills of both teams were up to the task with each club going 0 for 3 with the man-advantage. The Cats had 51 seconds of 5-on-3 time in the second period that the Senators effectively snuffed out.
  • Florida won the season series three games to one. Get the other side at Silver Seven Sens. See ya in 2022-23, Ottawa.

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