The Ottawa Senators’ attention to detail is paying off.
Kyle Turris had a goal and two assists to lead Ottawa to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, giving the Senators consecutive wins for the first time in seven weeks.
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"I think we’re playing better and I think we’re making strides in the right direction," Turris said. "We’re playing better in our own end and just playing smarter. We’re doing little things that make a big difference."
Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson and Curtis Lazar also scored for Ottawa, and Andrew Hammond made 21 saves for his second win in two NHL starts. The last time the Senators won back-to-back games was Dec. 29 and Jan. 3.
Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers, who missed an opportunity to pass Boston for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Roberto Luongo stopped 35 shots.
"It was a wasted opportunity and it was a tough one but we just have to put this one behind us and move on," Luongo said. "It was one of those games where we didn’t have it. Coming into the third we were down one which is a situation we’ve become accustomed to, but for some reason we didn’t have the period we wanted to."
Ryan got the tiebreaking goal at 8:40 of the second period, tipping a point shot past Luongo just as the tripping penalty to Tomas Kopecky expired.
The Panthers were fortunate to be down only a goal after 40 minutes considering they were outshot 26-15 over that span.
"I didn’t like our game at all. We didn’t play well at all, we didn’t work hard, we didn’t compete hard and it was the longest night for me behind the Florida bench this year," Panthers coach Gerald Gallant said. "We had a few chances in the first period and I thought Ottawa played well and they moved the puck, but we didn’t have any work ethic and I thought we played a real poor game."
Karlsson made it 3-1 at 8:03 of the third and Lazar capped the scoring with 7:51 remaining.
"We’ve got momentum now and to win back-to back games for the first time in a while is big for our hockey club," Lazar said.
The Panthers opened the scoring at 7:38 of the first period just seconds after they had a goal called off because the official had blown his whistle prior to the puck entering the net.
After the ensuing faceoff the puck game to Barkov at the top of the crease and his wrist shot beat Hammond, barely making its way across the goal line.
The Senators tied it a little less than 3 minutes later when Turris took a pass beside the net from Mark Stone and sent the puck behind Luongo.
Ottawa completed its five-game homestand 3-1-1 record and opens a five-game road swing this week — including three in California.
The Panthers will play fourth game of a five-game trip at Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
NOTES: Eric Gryba was scratched from the Senators’ lineup, while the Panthers scratched Dmitry Kulikov and Sean Bergenheim. … His first-period goal gave Turris 200 career points. … Senators forward Matt Puempel played his first NHL game Saturday night. … Gallant coached his 200th game as Panthers coach.