OTTAWA (AP) — The Ottawa Senators have prided themselves in outworking opponents this season. Their game against Florida was a reminder of what can happen if they don’t give a full effort.
Frank Vatrano scored the deciding goal as part of Florida’s four-goal outburst in the second period, and the Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators 6-3 on Thursday night.
“We’ve had some good periods this year, but that second might have been the best one we’ve had all year,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had good awareness, good playmaking, good patience with the puck, good speed. I thought we checked well and obviously scoring certainly helps, but I think overall that might have been doing everything you’re looking to do in a period.”
Evgenii Dadonov scored his second power-play goal of the game to tie it at 2-all for Florida (21-14-5), and 89 seconds later Noel Acciari gave the Panthers the lead.
Vatrano and Colton Sceviour scored 44 seconds apart in the final minute of the second period to put the game out of reach. Jonathan Huberdeau added an empty-net goal in the third to round out the scoring for Florida.
“I think we just fell asleep,” Ottawa’s Tyler Ennis said. “For the first time in a long time we got outworked in the second period and you’re not going to win games at home when you get outworked. It was the first time in a while that we got out-competed and that was the difference. At home, to put in an effort like that is unacceptable and we know that as a group we have to outwork teams and we didn’t do that.”
Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves and earned his first road win since Oct. 30.
“I thought we came out really hard and had one of our best periods this year and the second was totally the opposite,” forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. “They came out and we didn’t win battles, we stopped shooting pucks and they were first on every puck. When you don’t have the puck it’s hard to score goals and they’re obviously a good team so they’re going to score some goals and play keep away with the puck. Definitely not the second period we wanted.”
Ennis and Chris Tierney scored in the first period to give Ottawa (16-20-5) a 2-1 lead heading into the first break. Connor Brown scored in the third.
Craig Anderson stopped 25 shots for the Senators, who play eight home games this month.
After Dadonov opened scoring 1:41 into the game, Ennis tied it when his backhand shot deflected off Riley Stillman’s stick and over Bobrovsky. The Senators took the lead as Tierney took a pass from Anthony Duclair and scored on a wrist shot to the far side.
Dadonov scored again at the 8:54 mark of the second period.
Ottawa played a better third period, and was able to get a goal from Brown late in the period.
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