Ottawa Senators at Florida Panthers game preview
While a slow start doomed Florida during a streak-snapping loss, Ottawa’s mini-run ended when its offense didn’t show up at all.
Each team will look to get back on track when the Senators visit the Panthers on Tuesday night for a meeting between Atlantic Division foes.
Florida (13-10-4) had won five straight — the last four to begin a five-game trip — before the streak ended in disappointing fashion due mainly to a poor opening period Sunday at New Jersey.
The Panthers surrendered a goal just 26 seconds in and another midway through the first en route to a 4-2 loss. They were outshot 11-7 in the first 20 minutes before holding a 29-7 edge over the final 40.
"It’s a frustrating loss because we thought we had a good thing going," defenseman Erik Gudbranson told the team’s official website. "We felt like we could come out with that game, but unfortunately we didn’t start the game on time and it came back to bite us."
Florida’s defense and goaltending carried it through the season-best win streak, surrendering just six goals combined, but the Devils ended the club’s streak of four consecutive games allowing just one.
Roberto Luongo earned the first four wins during the streak, but New Jersey’s four goals on 18 shots gave the veteran a .778 save percentage that was his worst in 46 games.
A missed penalty shot by Jonathan Huberdeau while the Panthers trailed 3-2 late in the second period along with a flurry of other missed opportunities in the final two periods left the Panthers with an empty feeling.
"We had some good chances the second part of the game, but we kept playing from behind," coach Gerard Gallant said. "It was a battle, but we lost the game in the first period. We talked this morning about playing 60 minutes and we didn’t do it."
Luongo has lost his last two starts against Ottawa after winning his previous 10. He has a 1.98 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in those 12 starts.
Ottawa (14-8-5) had its two-game winning streak end and dropped its third in five games with a 4-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Sunday that opened a four-game trip.
Marc Methot scored his first goal in 20 games, but the Rangers scored twice in the first period and two more times in the third.
"It was a gallant effort," coach Dave Cameron said. "We just weren’t good enough. … We have to just do better."
The Senators were held to just one goal for the first time in 10 games and are 0 for 5 on the power play in their last two.
"We’re just trying to get pucks deep and be smart about our energy; maximize and take advantage of our opportunities," Kyle Turris said. "We weren’t able to do that."
Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson stopped 27 of 30 shots in his 11th consecutive start before a late empty-netter sealed it. Anderson has lost three of his last four against Florida with a 2.54 GAA and .932 save percentage, though he earned a shutout last October.
Florida has won four of the last six in the series with one victory in overtime. The two sides have traded wins and losses over the last eight meetings in Sunrise.