Florida Panthers Fall Short to the Ottawa Senators in Overtime, 3-2

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 29: James Reimer
OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 29: James Reimer /

After dropping a crucial game against the Maple Leafs last night, the Florida Panthers were heading into Ottawa, battling for two points.

Florida Panther prospect Henrik Borgstrom would make his NHL debut in tonight’s contest, while both James Reimer and Craig Anderson would each start in-goal for their respective sides. Would the Panthers pull through by the end of it?

Like last game, the Panthers started off slowly, but didn’t give up nearly as many chances. The Senators were pinning the Cats in their own zone for quite some time, but James Reimer was there to shut the door.

As the period progressed, so did the Panthers play. They were starting to find their groove in this match, peppering shots towards Anderson’s way. But like James Reimer, Anderson was there to deny every chance.

Just before the period concluded, Jean-Gabriel Pageau was denied on a partial breakaway against James Reimer. Reimer managed to use every inch of his leg to keep the puck from crossing the goal-line, after it hit the post. Pageau came awfully close to breaking the deadlock, but as they say: “close isn’t good enough.”

The Panthers concluded the first period with a score of zero a side. Parts of the first was well-played by the Cats offensively, while the Sens dominated in other parts. Shots and high-danger scoring chances were pretty much even throughout the course of the first. period

Slow starts continued to haunt the Panthers as they gave up a goal in the opening minute of the second. Pageau wrapped the puck from behind the net and through Reimer’s pad, giving the home side a 1-0 lead:

A couple of minutes after Pageau’s goal, and Max McCormick was called for a high-sticking penalty on MacKenzie Weegar, gifting the Panthers their first man advantage of the night.

The power play started off slow, failing to set up in the Senators’ zone. However, the second unit managed to get things going, working the puck down deep in Ottawa’s territory. It was only a matter of seconds until the Panthers found the back of the net.

Aaron Ekblad struck first on the Panthers’ behalf, leveling the game at a goal a side. Ekblad walked in and sniped a shot into the bottom-corner with a couple of Ottawa players on his tail:

A minute and a half later, Evgeni Dadonov recorded his 26th of the year, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game. MacKenzie Weegar found Dadonov open in the slot, where Dadonov took a step in and fired a shot past Craig Anderson:

The Panthers continued to press throughout the remainder of the second, but ultimately couldn’t cash in on their scoring chances. The Sens were pushed to the brink for much of the second, relying heavily on the presence of Craig Anderson.

The second period finished with a score of 2-1, in favor of the Cats. The third period was a chance for Ottawa to level things up, or for Florida to run away with it. Which would it be?

The slow starts to period’s curse continued, as Magnus Paajarvi tied the game in the opening sixteen seconds of the final frame. Coming from a Zack Smith point-shot, Paajarvi managed to redirect the shot in front, leveling the game at two goals apiece:

Florida managed to regain the momentum shortly after the Senators’ goal, but were finding it rather difficult to score. They received a glorious power play opportunity through the halfway mark, but managed to squander it.

The Cats ran into trouble with six a half remaining, when Keith Yandle committed a poorly timed slashing call, completely snapping Matt Duchene’s stick in half. The penalty was one that Yandle would love to have back, considering the importance of this game.

Needless to say, the Panthers’ penalty killing unit did a superb job at killing off Yandle’s penalty, minimizing Ottawa’s scoring chances. The final frame wrapped up with a score of 2-2, sending both sides into overtime, where one would grab the extra point.

The first couple of minutes into overtime was all Ottawa in play. The Sens held onto the puck for a good two minutes, forcing the Panthers to chase them around for a good portion of the period. Once the Panthers got hold of the puck, chances started coming their way.

Michael Matheson had a beautiful opportunity to close out the game when he was first denied by Anderson on his first shot, then promptly hitting the side of the net when Anderson was down. Next was Aaron Ekblad, where the 22-year-old was sprung on a one-on-one attempt, crashing Anderson’s crease hard.

Aaron fought his way onto goal, but was also denied by Anderson in result. Unfortunately, all of these chances didn’t matter for the Cats, as Pageau found himself on a breakaway and drew up a penalty shot call. The culprit was Michael Matheson, who tripped Pageau while he was on his way to goal.

The game came down to this final chance with 12.7 seconds left on the clock, where Reimer could give his side a shot of going to shootout with a save, while Pageau could win it for his side with a goal.

Unfortunately, Pageau scored, grabbing that ever so crucial point from the Cats, and ultimately playing spoilers tonight. The Ottawa Senators would go onto to win the game by a score of 3-2 in overtime:

Overall, the Panthers played well in chunks of the game, but continued to start off period’s slow. While New Jersey fell a point short of grabbing two against Pittsburgh, the Cats would’ve loved to have two against Ottawa tonight. Your Panthers are back in action on Saturday, March 31st @1:00pm against the Boston Bruins!