It would be cliche to say that the Ottawa Senators simply have the Florida Panthers ‘number’ but, at this point, what other explanation can you give following the Sens 6-2 pasting of the Cats? A 1-1 game after the first period turned into a 5-1 Ottawa lead at 1:24 of the third and the rout was well underway despite the 44-31 shot advantage in favor of Florida. Shawn Matthias and Sean Bergenheim were able to score for Florida but too many defensive breakdowns gave Ottawa way too many easy looks at the net.
Once again, the Panthers allowed the first goal relatively early in the first. At 5:35, Jim O’Brien caught Scott Clemmensen out of position on a wraparound and beat him on his right post for his first career NHL goal. Following the script from the last few games, the Panthers tied it up, this time on Matthias’ goal, an improbable shot from the left face-off circle, tied things up at 11:47.
Over the second 20 minute session, the Senators used a pair of tip-in goals (from Kaspars Daugavins and Bobby Butler) and near-perfect backhander on a shorthanded breakaway by Daniel Alfredsson to blow the game wide open. The Panthers put 17 shots on Senators (and former Panthers) goalie Craig Anderson but, couldn’t get one past. In fact, the Senators were quick to take rebounds of Florida shots to create rushes the other way to create two of those goals.
Any hope of a Florida comeback was quickly squashed by Ottawa 1:24 into the third. Milan Michalek scored his 25th goal of the season on, you guessed it, a tip-in of an Erik Karlssson shot from the point to make it 5-1. Bergenheim’s tip-in (hey, a tip-in goal!) of Brian Campbell’s shot from the deep slot gave a little bit of relief to make it 5-2. Filip Kuba’s finish of a beautiful cross-ice pass from Jason Spezza past Jose Theodore (who replaced Clemmensen after Ottawa’s fourth goal) put a cap to the evening’s scoring. The assist capped a three assist night for Spezza, giving him seven points over his past two games.
Not much to do with this one other than put it behind as the Washington Capitals come calling on Friday. While it would’ve been nice to extend the division lead, the Senators just seem to save their best for the Panthers this season, as they’ve now outscored them 14-8 in the three meetings this season. And while the Panthers won the battle on the shot chart, most of them were pretty easy for Anderson to handle as his glove got quite the workout on Wednesday. Frustrating that they couldn’t get over the hump to a four-game winning streak but all is well if they can start another one against the Capitals.
You can see some post game video at The Rat Trick’s You Tube page: RatTrickVideo
And check out Fansided’s Senators blog Senshot for their recap.
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Topics: Bobby Butler, Craig Anderson, Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Filip Kuba, Florida Panthers, Jason Spezza, Jim O'brien, Jose Theodore, Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators, Scott Clemmensen, Sean Bergenheim, Shawn Matthias