After an impressive 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, the Senators arrived in Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers. Erik Condra was brought in for Colin Greening, and Craig Anderson got the start for the night. Despite their impressive effort against the Blues, the Sens were unable to recreate it in this game.
We didn't have to wait long for the first goal, as Chris Neil slid the puck past Al Montoya at 5:04 into the first period. The Sens were up 1-0. Erik Condra, eager to show the team why he deserves to be on the ice, had an assist on the goal.
That lead would not last long. Under a minute after Neil's goal, Dylan Olsen sent a wrist shot through traffic, which deflected past Anderson and made it 1-1. Florida was on the board.
The remainder of the period was pretty quiet. Both teams exchanged a handful of shots, but not a lot of quality scoring changes. After a Patrick Wiercioch turnover, Vincent Trocheck had a great shot all alone, but couldn't beat Anderson. The Sens responded with a few chances of their own. Erik Karlsson sent a slap pass in front of the net, and Kyle Turris tipped it just wide.
With under five minutes to go, Chris Phillips went to the penalty box for delay of game. Florida only managed one shot on the power play, and it didn't take long for the Sens to get retribution. Sean Bergenheim took a hooking penalty at the very end of the period, letting the Sens start the second on the power play.
The second period was not so kind to the Ottawa Senators. Although it started off on what should have been a high note, with the Sens on the power play, they were unable to generate any scoring chances. Instead, they gave up a great short-handed chance to Trocheck, who found himself all alone in front of the net, but couldn't beat Anderson (take note of that theme).
Cody Ceci made up for this shaky start by beating Montoya with a wrist shot and making it 2-1 for the Sens. Chris Neil recorded an assist on the play, and moved one step closer to the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Both Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes had breakaway opportunities shortly after, but neither could beat Anderson. Bergenheim couldn't even beat Andy on a huge rebound after Boyes' breakaway. Anderson wasn't kidding when he said he loved playing in Florida.
Chris Neil finally got his Gordie Howe hat trick, dropping the gloves with Shawn Thornton. Although the refs broke things up early, it counted and both players went off for fighting.
Florida continued their dominance, as Sean Bergenheim found himself alone at the side of the net. His shot would hit the net, but Anderson handled the bouncing puck, which could have easily trickled in.
Although both Ceci and Turris had decent chances for Ottawa towards the end of the period, it was Andy who kept this team alive in the second.
Shortly before the period ended, Shawn Thornton took a pass from Mark Stone directly to the face, and went to the dressing room pretty quickly. He would later return.
At this rate, the Sens could only hold onto the lead for so long. Just over 30 seconds into the third period, Bergenheim slapped the puck past Anderson, making it 2-2. Aleksander Barkov picked up the puck in the corner and slid it to Bergenheim at the face-off circle, who made no mistake and put it in the back of the net.
Anderson continued his outstanding play, robbing Trocheck on a shot from the point, but it couldn't last forever. Jimmy Hayes put the Panthers ahead 3-2 off a one-handed pass from Trocheck. Just like that, the Sens had given up the lead and were now chasing the Panthers.
Ottawa had a chance to tie things up about half way through the period, when Sean Bergenheim took a slashing penalty. The closest they would come to this was a feed by Turris to MacArthur, who was rushing through the slot. Montoya wasn't ready to give Anderson all the goalie credit. He flashed the leather and kept Florida in the lead.
With just under two minutes remaining in the game, the Sens pulled Anderson, but ended up spending most of the time in their own end. Remarkably, they did not surrender an empty-net goal. Alex Chiasson blocked a slap shot in the final seconds, and went to the bench in pain. No word on whether or not he was hurt on the play.
The final effort, if you could call it that, was not enough. The Panthers would take it by a final score of 3-2.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
46 shots. 46 SHOTS! Craig Anderson was the only reason that this score didn't get out of hand. The Sens turned the puck over multiple times, giving Florida more breakaways than they have probably seen all season. Anderson didn't break a sweat, stopping every single one. He could only do so much, but he deserves more credit than he will get for this one. (46 shots!)
Sens Zero: Ottawa Senators in the second period
While the third period was no picnic, this game arguably took a dramatic turn in the second. After having an admirable first period, tied in both scoring and (almost) shots, the Sens fell apart for the majority of the second period. They may have scored, but it was in not indicative of their play. Florida outshot the Sens 16-9, and shifted the momentum in their favour, which they would carry into the third period.
Sens Killer: Vincent Trocheck
With two assists and five shots on the night, Trocheck was a huge part of the Panthers' comeback win against the Sens. He contributed to the game-winning goal, with his one-handed pass to Jimmy Hayes. Many of Anderson's saves were in response to a scoring chance from Torocheck, and it felt like he was everywhere in this game.
Honourable Mention: Chris Neil
The team didn't get a win, but Neil did get a Gordie Howe hat-trick (goal, assist and fight). By Chris Neil standards, this was a very good night. As a result, he gets a mention here.
Dishonourable Mention: Sens defence
B_T's Shot Donut: