Senators 5, Panthers 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)
Daniel Alfredsson's teammates did all they could to make a milestone game for the Ottawa captain a memorable one.
Mike Fisher scored twice to help the Senators beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 Tuesday night in the 1,000th game of Alfredsson's NHL career. Jarkko Ruutu, Erik Karlsson and Chris Neil also got goals for Ottawa, which has won seven of its last eight.
``It feels great to win and you'll remember this game fondly,'' Alfredsson said. ``Everybody's in a good mood after and congratulating me and happy for the win. It was a great day from the morning skate until now.''
Shawn Matthias and Kamil Kreps each scored for the Panthers.
Ottawa's Pascal Leclaire made 32 saves, while Tomas Vokoun stopped 23 shots for Florida.
``The first period I felt a little rusty but as the game went on I felt a little better, I was feeling pretty much myself,'' Leclaire said. ``I think it was important just to get the win. It was a special night for (Alfredsson) and you want to make sure they get a good souvenir out of it.''
The Senators have already clinched a postseason spot, but Buffalo clinched the Northeast Division title by beating the New York Rangers earlier Tuesday night.
``We did some good things. I thought we worked hard on the penalty kill,'' Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said. ``We generated the offense that we wanted. I thought we lost a little bit of focus toward the end of third but overall very happy with the game.''
The Panthers were already eliminated from playoff contention.
Fisher got his second goal of the night at 4:45 in the third period to push Ottawa's lead to 4-1. Ruutu then scored at 6:30 of the third, tipping in the puck to make it 5-1. Neil had his second assist of the game on that goal.
Kreps put in a rebound for Florida to make it 5-2 at 7:56 of the third.
The Senators went up 1-0 on Fisher's power-play goal with 2:16 left in the first period. Fisher scored on a shot from in front, with Jason Spezza and Alfredsson earning assists.
``It was a big night and a special one for (Alfredsson) and all of us to be part of it,'' Fisher said. ``He's done so much and obviously a win makes it that much more enjoyable.''
Karlsson scored at 3:58 of the second to extend Ottawa's lead to 2-0. He put in a rebounding puck with a wrist shot from just above the left side of the crease.
Matthias made it 2-1 with his seventh goal of the season at 8:41 of the second period, but Ottawa went ahead 3-1 with a fluke goal 21 seconds later. Florida defenseman Keith Ballard tried to swipe the puck away from in front of the Panthers goal with his glove. Instead, he batted it back into his own net. Ottawa's Neil was credited with the goal.
``Hopefully we get all of those out of our system this year,'' Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said.
Notes: Alfredsson scored the first goal of his NHL career on Oct. 13, 1995, also against the Panthers. The Senators lost that game 6-2. ... Alfredsson is the fourth player to reach 1,000 games in Sunrise this season. Calgary RW Jarome Iginla, and Panthers D Bryan McCabe and RW Radek Dvorak also played their 1,000th games at the BankAtlantic Center. ... DeBoer has been chosen as an assistant coach for the Canadian IIHF World Championship team.