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SUNRISE (AP) — Mike Hoffman is finding it easy to score these days.
Hoffman got the go-ahead goal with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third period and the Senators beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Tuesday night.
A shot by Chris Wideman bounced off the stick of a Panthers player and Hoffman poked in the loose puck for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
“The puck managed to get to me in the slot and I just tried to get it away as quick as I can,” Hoffman said. “I didn’t really see where it ended up or where it went in. But it was good to get that one.”
Hoffman has 11 goals in his past 11 games.
“I don’t know, the puck just seems to sometimes get to you and when you’re streaking it seems a lot easier,” Hoffman said.
Kyle Turris and Zack Smith also scored for Ottawa and Mark Stone had three assists. Jean-Gabriel Pageau added a short-handed empty net goal with 2:31 left and Craig Anderson finished with 25 saves to help the Senators win for the third time in four games.
Reilly Smith and Logan Shaw scored for the Panthers and Roberto Luongo stopped 19 shots. Florida lost its second straight after winning five in a row. Luongo lost his third in a row to the Senators after winning the previous 10.
The Senators scored three goals in the third period. Trailing 2-1, Ottawa tied it 2-all 51 seconds into the period on a power-play goal by Turris. A shot by Stone bounced off the skate of an Ottawa player and out to Turris in the right circle and his shot went just under the bar and into the net.
“I thought we were great the first two periods and a real energy team,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “In the third, penalties just came back to haunt. We didn’t have the same jump. It’s disappointing.”
Reilly Smith put the Panthers ahead 2-1 when his backhander from in front got past Anderson with 6:02 left in the second.
“It was one of those chess matches tonight, going back and forth,” Anderson said. “At the end of the day, we found a way to win. Our special teams were huge.”
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on the goal by Shaw, his first NHL point. Shaw and Derek MacKenzie had a 2-on-1 breakaway and took advantage when Shaw’s slap shot from the right circle went over Anderson’s shoulder at 7:49 of the first.
“Obviously it’s nice to score my first goal, but it would’ve been nicer if it would’ve come in a win,” Shaw said.
The Senators tied the score at 1 on a power-play goal by Smith. Stone passed from behind the goal line out to Smith in the slot. His one-timer beat Luongo 48 seconds into the second period. The power-play goal was the first for Ottawa in three games and the first the Panthers have allowed in the past 20 power plays over a span of eight games.
NOTES: Luongo played his 887th game to pass Tony Esposito to move into seventh all-time among goalies. … Panthers C Nick Bjugstad missed his fifth game with a lower-body injury. … Anderson made his 12th consecutive start for the Senators.
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