Senators Win 3-2 Over Panthers

In order for the Senators to be able to climb back into the playoff race, they have to start taking advantage of vulnerable opponents.

Cue the Florida Panthers – playing one day after firing their entire coaching staff.

It didn’t take long for Ottawa to get a leg up.  Just 1:45 in to the game, a turnover to Bobby Ryan resulted in a partial breakaway that Tim Thomas stopped.  Ryan followed the puck and passed to Kyle Turris, who’s bad angle shot surprised Thomas and opened the scoring.  19 seconds later, another turnover allowed Mika Zibanejad to bank the puck off a Panther defender and  it was 2-0 Senators.  Exactly the type of start Ottawa needed.

Of course, this team doesn’t like to do anything easily.  2 minutes after Zibanejad scored, Erik Karlsson fanned on a pass, lost the puck in his skates and was unable to recover the puck.  Nick Bjugstad accepted the gift, went to the net and beat Lehner to cut the lead in half.  That resulted in Karlsson being benched – playing only 4:16 in the first period.

The two teams would trade goals over the next 2 periods, but the difference was that the Senators were able to capitalize on a 5 on 3 power-play (MacArthur), while the Panthers could not.

Ottawa went on to win its 3rd straight game and improved its overall record to 7-6-4.

Thoughts from the game.

1. Erik Karlsson – Karlsson played 21:04 – a normal amount – but WHEN he played may be newsworthy.  The Swedish defender only logged 4:16 of ice-time in the first period after coughing up the puck on the first Florida goal and did not see the ice for the final 10 minutes while the team was defending the lead.

2. Putting away opponents – This team needs to be vicious and put down a wounded dog.  Ottawa could have ended this game in the first 5 minutes, but instead lost their focus and allowed Tim Thomas and the Panthers to get back into the game.

3. Clarke MacArthur – Man, this guy is good.  Tons of speed, works hard every shift and is responsible defensively.  His signing is under the radar league-wide but may have been one of the best of the off-season.

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