Senators hand Panthers worst home loss since 2013, 8-2

SUNRISE, Fla.- (AP) — Josh Norris scored two goals and Anton Forsberg made 33 saves to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Florida Panthers 8-2 on Tuesday night.

Nick Paul and Brady Tkachuk each scored a late power-play goal, and Drake Batherson had a goal and two assists. Tim Stutzle, Dylan Gambrell and Austin Watson also scored for Ottawa. Connor Brown had three assists.

Sam Reinhart and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers, who lost at home for only the second time this season. The Senators have won five of six.

“We knew that they had a tough trip coming back from Colorado and that they might be a little slow coming out of the gate and we wanted to jump real hard on them, and we did,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “There’s a real good feeling in that room right now, but we’ve got to make sure to stay on the pedal.”

Florida goaltender Spencer Knight gave up a career-worst eight goals on 38 shots.

It was the Panthers’ worst home loss since falling 7-1 to Philadelphia on Jan. 26, 2013, and their worst overall since a 6-0 beating at Calgary on Jan. 13, 2016.

“We haven’t really had one like this,” Reinhart said. “It’s a long season and they’re gonna come. It’s a matter of responding.”

The Panthers went 0-for-6 on the power play, including 27 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the third.

“This one definitely hurts. Where did it get away? Obviously, the power play,” Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. “We’re going to face adversity as a team. We know that. It’s all about coming back to work tomorrow and finding a way. We know we’re a good team, and we’re going to find a way.”

With the score tied at 2, the Senators scored two goals in a span of 80 seconds late in the second period.

Norris’ shot from the slot beat Knight on the stick side at 16:06, and then Stutzle fired the puck from the high slot into the net.

Norris’ second goal 23 seconds into the third made the score 5-2 and Batherson made it 6-2 with 13:50 left.

Paul concluded the scoring with 5:03 left.

“We just needed a couple of wins to kind of get that feeling back in our room,” Paul said. “Right now we’re just working hard, working together and the bounces are coming our way as well.”

Gambrell’s short-handed goal on a breakaway gave the Senators a 2-1 lead with 18:30 left in the second.

The Panthers tied the game again when Reinhart scored with 4:27 left in the second to make it 2-2.

Watson gave the Senators a 1-0 lead when he corralled a loose puck in front and slid it under Knight’s pads at 4:38 of the first.

Huberdeau’s goal tied the score 1-all after he skated in and fired the puck past Forsberg from in front with 6:55 left in the first.

HELLO, CANADA

For the first time in 647 days, “O Canada” was played pregame at the Panthers’ home rink. Ottawa’s visit was the first by a Canadian team since the Montreal Canadiens played at Florida on March 7, 2020. The Panthers’ first game in Canada this season is at Calgary on Jan. 18; that’ll be Florida’s first game on Canadian soil since August 2020.

NOTES: Panthers F Anthony Duclair returned after missing the last eight games with a lower-body injury. … F Aleksi Heponiemi was recalled from Charlotte (AHL). … F Ryan Lomberg was placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday morning. … D Gustav Forsling missed the game with a non-COVID-19 illness. … Ottawa scoring first meant the Panthers have given up the first goal of a game 50% of the time this season, now 14 times in 28 games. … Senators coach D.J. Smith has now coached against 40 different coaches at the NHL level after facing off with Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette for the first time Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Senators: Visit Tampa Bay on Thursday, the second of a three-game trip.

Panthers: Close a two-game homestand on Thursday against Los Angeles.

___

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