Florida Panthers at Ottawa Senators game preview
OTTAWA -- When the Florida Panthers visited Canadian Tire Centre on Nov. 19, they left with a healthy 4-1 victory.
Since then they have grabbed seven of an available 12 points around the firing of coach Gerard Gallant.
Under his successor, Tom Rowe, the Panthers (12-10-2) have lost a 2-1 shootout in Chicago and scored a 2-1 overtime victory in Detroit.
So far, life is moving on just fine for the Panthers without the popular Gallant. Florida takes another stop in Ottawa on Saturday.
"I think we were all sad when Gerard was let go, but we are professional athletes who want to win," goalie Roberto Luongo told The Miami Herald. "Once you're back on the ice, you do what you know and you don't think about the other things. At the end of the day, it's about guys in the locker room and not who is behind the bench. Coming together as a team, playing as a team, is what will make us successful."
After winning four in a row last week, the Senators (14-8-2) have managed to take just one of four points on home ice, losing 5-4 to Buffalo and dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to Philadelphia. Against the Flyers, Ottawa had a 2-0 lead disappear in a minute late in the second period, then suffered a costly defensive zone break down in overtime.
"We had a good first, good third, but our second, we definitely could have been better," said coach Guy Boucher. "We stopped shooting, created less momentum in the offensive zone. They grabbed that. I think we did a much better job in the third period to reload from that."
But not good enough to get back on the winning track.
Luongo, who has held a hot hand of late, is expected to start his third game in a row Saturday. In four of his last five he has given up a single goal, including a 39-save performance against the Senators in which he was brilliant.
Ottawa's goaltending situation is still up in the air, as it's not known whether Craig Anderson will be back from a visit with his wife Nicholle, who is undergoing cancer treatment in New York. If Anderson returns in time, he'll play. Backup Mike Condon made 29 saves against the Flyers, but he'd like to have another chance at the two regulation time goals he allowed.
The Senators will again be without second-line right winger Bobby Ryan, who is out with a deep bone bruise in his hand. The status of defenseman Marc Methot is unknown. He missed the Flyers game but was considered day to day.
With defenseman Fredrick Claesson also suffering an injury against the Flyers, the Senators recalled defenseman Andreas England and winger Buddy Robinson.
Winger Mike Hoffman is on fire for the Senators, scoring four goals in his last two games. Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr, who has 90 points in 75 career games against Ottawa, has two goals in his last four outings.
Both teams were given Friday off by their coaches.