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At the Rink: Panthers at Senators

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA -- The Florida Panthers will try to extend their winning streak to 11 games Thursday against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, RDS, TSN5).

The Panthers' 10-game winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season and a franchise record.

Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell said this isn't a case of a team being hot, but just playing up to its potential.

The Panthers are 16-3-0 since Nov. 27 and have taken over first place in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of the Montreal Canadiens. The Senators are one of the three teams to defeat the Panthers in that time, 4-2 on Dec. 8.

"We've been playing pretty good since the U.S. Thanksgiving. Our record's been pretty good," Campbell said. "We kind of got our game straightened out, how we want to play. I'm not saying we're going to be a 10-0 hockey club all the time, but we're playing good hockey and we've been doing it for longer than these 10 games.

"We're consistent. I feel like we don't give up a lot, and when we do the goalies have our backs. It gives us a chance to win every game."

Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo is expected to start against the Senators. He has a personal best eight-game winning streak.

Defense has been a key for the Panthers, who have allowed six goals in their past six games and 12 during the streak.

With a win against the Senators, the Panthers will tie their franchise record for consecutive road wins (five).

Forwards Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov lead the Panthers with five goals each during the winning streak and Barkov is tops in points with 12.

"There's common denominators when teams are winning and it's your specialty teams, it's your goaltending, it's your confidence because pucks are post and in," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "You're getting the big save when you need it. Things just seem to be line up for you as you play good hockey."

That hasn't been the case for the Senators lately as they struggle to put together a winning streak. They haven't won two games in a row since Dec. 3-5. Since those back-to-back wins, the Senators are 5-8-1.

Ottawa comes off a 3-2 overtime win Monday against the St. Louis Blues.

Top center Kyle Turris hasn't scored a goal in nine games and has four assists.

"I'm not happy with our whole team's game," Cameron said. "It's not one guy. We're not about one guy. We're about everybody being a little bit better. Kyle is in that category, but so are the other 19 guys who play."

Senators forward Milan Michalek will return to play Thursday after missing 16 games with a fractured finger. Defenseman Cody Ceci will play after missing six games with an upper-body injury.

Forward Alex Chiasson, who hasn't scored in 26 games, will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Defenseman Chris Wideman will come out of the lineup to make room for Ceci.

Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jonathan HuberdeauAleksander BarkovJaromir Jagr

Jussi JokinenVincent TrocheckReilly Smith

Brandon PirriNick BjugstadLogan Shaw

Quinton HowdenDerek MacKenzieCorban Knight

Dmitry KulikovAaron Ekblad

Brian CampbellErik Gudbranson

Willie MitchellAlex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Steven Kampfer (lower body), David Bolland (lower body)

Scratched: Shawn Thornton


Bobby RyanKyle TurrisMark Stone

Mike HoffmanMika ZibanejadMilan Michalek

Max McCormickJean-Gabriel PageauCurtis Lazar

Shane PrinceZack SmithChris Neil

Fredrik ClaessonErik Karlsson

Marc MethotCody Ceci

Patrick WierciochMark Borowiecki

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion)

Scratched: Alex Chiasson, Jared Cowen, Chris Wideman

Status report: MacArthur skated recently, an encouraging sign as he tries to come back from a concussion sustained Oct. 14.

Who's hot: Jagr has three goals in his past two games. … Pirri has two goals and an assist in his past three games.

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