The Florida Panthers seek progress and consistency.
They’re getting a great deal of both of late.
Enjoying their best stretch of the season by far, the Panthers
look to beat the Ottawa Senators on the road for the first time in
nearly four years Thursday night.
Florida (13-17-5) has won four straight and six of its last
seven games, matching its win total over the previous 27 after
opening the season with a win at Dallas on Oct. 3.
The Panthers, who haven’t won five in a row since March 11-20,
2012, kept the current run going with a 3-1 victory at Toronto on
Tuesday, two days after opening this four-game road trip with a 2-1
win at Montreal.
“We’re looking for progress,” coach Peter Horachek said. “We’re
looking for consistency in our play.”
They’re getting it practically across the board offensively, as
11 players have at least one goal over the past seven games while
six more have managed at least an assist.
Dylan Olsen has been a big surprise, leading the team with seven
points over that stretch. The defenseman had one point over the
previous four games after being recalled from San Antonio of the
The 28th overall pick in the 2009 draft by Chicago, Olsen
managed one point in 28 games with the Blackhawks in 2011-12 before
spending all of last season in the minors.
Scott Clemmensen may get a fourth consecutive start in net after
compiling a 1.30 goals-against average while winning the last
three. His performance against the Maple Leafs was his best yet,
making a season-high 28 saves.
Clemmensen, though, has lost his last two games at Ottawa
(14-16-6), giving up nine goals on 60 shots.
The Panthers have lost seven in a row at Canadian Tire Centre,
including a 3-2 defeat Nov. 9. They lost 4-2 at home to the
Senators on Dec. 3, the game immediately prior to Florida’s recent
Jonathan Huberdeau scored in that meeting, and he’s expected to
return Thursday. The reigning Calder Trophy winner has missed the
last two games with a foot injury, but Horachek claimed that he
could have played Tuesday.
With Huberdeau potentially back and the Senators struggling, the
Panthers are poised to get their first win in Ottawa since Jan. 9,
The Senators are growing frustrated on a 3-3-2 stretch, and
Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at New Jersey was enough for them to call for
a closed-door meeting.
“Totally frustrated with our lack to string together another
win,” captain Jason Spezza said. “We gave up a short-handed goal.
Your power play is supposed to gain momentum for you. We gave up
another pretty quick. It’s tough to come back on the road,
especially against a team like New Jersey.”
Bobby Ryan was held without a point by the Devils after
collecting six over the previous five games. The left wing leads
the team with 16 goals, scoring one against the Panthers earlier
Ryan has one point in each of his past four meetings with
Florida, while defenseman Erik Karlsson has seven points over his
last six home matchups.
With Robin Lehner starting in New Jersey, Craig Anderson is
likely to get another shot at his former team Thursday. Anderson is
10-1-1 with a 1.66 GAA in his last 12 starts against Florida.