Game three of a four game road trip takes the Florida Panthers to Ottawa to face the Senators. The Sens find themselves bringing up the rear of the Eastern Conference, pretty much out of the playoffs. Much like their opponent the Panthers, Ottawa was close and was even in the top eight at one point, but they have had an awful go of it for the past couple months.
There have been and will continue to be changes in Ottawa as General Manager Bryan Murray continues to re-tool the roster and begin his planning for next season. One move that has just recently been made is the acquisition of former Panther goaltender Craig Anderson. Anderson who was a backup here in Florida fled via free agency and signed with the Colorado Avalanche and had a tremendous year last season winning 38 games. He has however returned to mediocrity this season and has a record of 14-15-3 with a 3.17 GAA. Not exactly stellar numbers. Not sure what happened with Craig besides missing some games for personal reasons and a groin problem, but I don’t think he’s the answer in Ottawa. It’s actually a bit of a tryout for Craig as he’s an unrestricted free agent after the season. So if the Sens don’t like what they see, they can just part ways.
The leading scorer for Ottawa is young defenceman Erik Karlsson who leads the team with 32 points. His +/- rating though is -28! Daniel Alfredsson is tied for goals with Alexei Kovalev at 14. Kovalev an inigma of sorts, finds himself in the news daily regarding trade rumors. Pittsburgh for some reason seems to think he’ll be a good fit, since he played there before. That was a long time ago however and prior to them acquiring forward James Neal from Dallas the other day.
The Florida Panthers meanwhile need to decide tonight what they are up to. It is almost going to be impossible at this point to make up ground to get into the post season as Monday’s leisurely played first 40 minutes did them in. Listening to Billy Jaffe from the Islanders broadcast team Tuesday afternoon, he described the Panthers as “just standing around, not passing, and not into the game”. The boys picked a perfect time to tank. I guess we should be used to it right? We’ve seen this before, but we don’t have to accept it. The players and coaching staff doesn’t have to accept it. Additionally Dale Tallon and the rest of the Florida Panthers management don’t have to accept it either. This team has a horrible history of not showing up when they need to. That must change.
We have been teased in believing in this team all season long. A moderately changed roster, yet with some of the same parts, has not been able to get it done with the same coaching staff for the past three seasons. Minus Mike Kitchen this year. Trade rumors are flowing and I’m hoping that Dale is busy, and considering every offer that he gets.
As for this game tonight, it will be interesting to see what kind of energy and what kind of style the Panthers end up playing. Another game like Monday and you can really kiss the season goodbye. Scott Clemmensen is scheduled to be in goal tonight as Tomas Vokoun does not have a great record against Ottawa. He’s 3-10-0 lifetime with a 3.46 GAA.
The Panthers have lost 12 of their last 16 games, and the last time they won a game by three goals or more was on January 2nd when they beat the New York Rangers 3-0.
Here’s the TSN Gameday preview.
Please visit our FanSided opponent, Senshot.
What happens tonight is anyone’s guess. Showing up would be a start.
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