SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – The Florida Panthers needed some time to get up to full speed against the Ottawa Senators.
Marcel Goc, Krystofer Barch and Mikael Samuelsson scored second-period goals and the Panthers rallied to beat the Senators for the first time in 10 games, 4-2 on Sunday night.
The Panthers were coming off a 7-0 loss at Winnipeg on Thursday night and a 3-1 loss to Nashville on Saturday night. They picked up an important two points as they try to maintain their Southeast Division lead.
Jack Skille added a goal with 1:26 left, Jose Theodore made 23 saves, and Mike Weaver had two assists to help the Panthers beat the Senators for the first time since a 3-0 victory in Ottawa in January 2010.
“It was good to get a win finally in front of these fans that are itching for the playoffs,” Skille said. “We want to make sure that we come back with a lot of push at the end of the season here.”
Jared Cowen and Chris Neil scored in the first period for Ottawa, and Robin Lehner stopped 24 shots.
“I think the whole team collapsed a little bit and they came out very hungry,” Lehner said.
The Panthers took the lead on Samuelsson’s power-play goal with 8:57 left in the second. Stephen Weiss passed from below the left circle to Samuelsson in front and he wristed the puck past Lehner.
Goc and Barch scored in a 2:21 span early in the second to tie it. Goc deflected Weaver’s shot from the right circle over Lehner at 33 seconds, and Barch skated in on Lehner and beat him to the stick side at 2:54. It was Barch’s first goal in 21 games.
“It just comes down to work, this time of year especially,” Barch said. “Every team has got talent, you’ve just got to outwork the team across.”
The Senators looked as if they were going to rout the Panthers when they took the 2-0 lead in the first, but the Panthers bounced back.
“Our competition level after the first period stayed the same and theirs obviously elevated to a higher level,” Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. “Instead of raising our competition level as the game went on to meet theirs, we got frustrated.”
The Senators opened the scoring on Cowen’s goal with 6:37 left in the first. Cowen brought the puck off the side boards and fired a shot from about 10 feet inside the blue line.
Neil made it 2-0 with 1:28 left in the period. Theodore blocked Jim O’Brien’s shot, but the puck bounced out to the slot and Neil grabbed it and got a shot by Theodore.
“When you get as thoroughly outplayed as we did in the first period, I think there has to be some kind of a response,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “To the credit of our leadership group, to our worker bees, to our team as a whole, we never gave up. The response was extremely strong.
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