Hockey Night in Canada


Panthers inch closer to wild-card spot with blowout of Senators

Jared McCann had a goal and two assists to lead the Florida Panthers past the Ottawa Senators 7-2 on Tuesday night.

Florida sits 1 point back of New Jersey with game in hand in East playoff race

Aleksander Barkov, Evgenii Dadonov and Nick Bjugstad celebrate a goal on goaltender Craig Anderson during the second period the Florida Panthers' 7-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)

With three key players out of their lineup, the Ottawa Senators didn't have nearly enough Tuesday night.

Jared McCann had a goal and two assists to lead the Florida Panthers past the Senators 7-2. Ryan Dzingel, Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson were all absent from Ottawa's lineup.

Florida beats Ottawa 7-2, trails New Jersey by 1 point for 2nd wild-card spot. 0:20

"Some key, core members of our team, and that's tough," defenceman Mark Borowiecki sakd. "When you take out a good chunk of your top guys it's going to hurt.

"We had a gameplan to kind of deal with that and we as a group didn't execute that. We tried to be a little too fancy."

The Senators announced Tuesday the son of captain Karlsson and his wife, Melinda, died. The couple announced last November they were expecting their first child.

Shorthanded Senators battle

Keith Yandle, Nick Bjugstad, Evgeni Dadonov, Jamie McGinn and Frank Vatrano all had a goal and an assist for Florida (37-37-7). Colton Sceviour registered the other while James Reimer made 33 saves to improve to 13-5-2 against Ottawa with four shutouts.

"You look across the league and there are some buildings where guys play well against certain teams," Reimer said. "I don't know if it's the way they match up or the way plays develop or what not.

'They're a hard-working team and I've been in that situation too many times when the playoffs are out of reach and sometimes those games are hard to play. But I thought they battled hard and had some chances."

Patrick Sieloff and Marian Gaborik scored for the Senators (26-35-11), who lost their second straight. Craig Anderson started in goal but was replaced by Mike Condon after allowing four goals on 17 shots.

Condon made 19 saves.

Panthers get balanced attack

Panthers coach Bob Boughner was pleased with the balanced scoring attack as 11 Florida players had points.

"Nice to get seven different scorers spread throughout the lineup," he said. "There's not too many games this year where we can relax a little bit in the third period and roll our bench.

"It was a perfect game for us and the thing I'm most happy with is that with human nature sometimes you let your foot off the gas but I thought we went out in the third period and stuck to our structure and detail and didn't cheat."

There wasn't much to decide after the second period as the Panthers were in control leading 6-2. They led 2-1 after an opening frame that was broken into two parts as the final 2:10 was played after the ice was resurfaced and just before the start of the second.

Both teams were sent to their dressing rooms at 17:50 as the ice crew worked to repair a broken pane of glass in the Senators' end. Before that, Sceviour gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 2:36 as he tipped a point shot past Anderson.

Sieloff tied the game at 12:48. His point shot hit the end boards, bounced back over the net and struck the crossbar before hitting Reimer in the back and going in.

The goal was the second in two career games for Sieloff, He scored April 9, 2016 while with the Calgary Flames, the team who drafted him 42nd overall in 2012.

"Overall we didn't have our best game but that was nice to get that goal, but it wasn't a good game," Sieloff said. "There were a couple of defensive breakdowns and couple bounces didn't go our way and it went downhill from there.

"We had a gameplan and got away from it."

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead at 15:56 as Yandle beat Anderson on a shot that looked to deflect off Borowiecki's stick.

When the teams returned to the ice, Dadonov and McCann scored at 2:15 and 7:19 of the second, respectively, for a 4-1 lead and chased Anderson from the game.

Gaborik scored for the Senators at 13:52 but the Panthers replied 51 seconds apart late in the period as Vatrano (16:13) and Bjugstad (17:04) beat Condon.

McGinn had the only goal of the third, putting the Panthers ahead 7-2 at 12:08.


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