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At the Rink: Senators at Panthers

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After absorbing the most lopsided home-opening loss in BB&T?Center history, the Florida Panthers will be looking to give their fans a better performance Monday night against the Ottawa Senators.

"It was tough home opener for us,"?center Nick Bjugstad said. "Obviously we want to show the fans a little something better than that. It was disappointing for us and the fans. We've got to come out to play, that's the bottom line. We've got to be ready to play in the first period. We weren't ready to play, so that's got to change."

The Panthers (0-1-1)???fell behind 4-0 in the first period against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night and ended up losing 5-1. That matched a 4-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 3, 2009 as the franchise's most lopsided loss in a home opener, but the latter took place in Helsinki, Finland, as part of a home-and-home set.

The Panthers had won their next four home openers before Saturday.

"That's the beauty of being in this League, you get to play a couple of nights later,"???defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "We struggled with that one. That wasn't a good game for us. We weren't prepared coming into that, I don't think. But after that night's sleep, we came to the rink the next day, had a really good practice, felt good about ourselves and we feel just as confident going into this game as we did our prior games."

The Panthers will be looking to increased goal production against Ottawa after scoring three goals in their first two games.

In particular, Florida could use some help from its power play. The Panthers are 1-for-10 with the man advantage, and the only goal was scored by defensive specialist Derek MacKenzie, who coach Gerard Gallant put on the power play against New Jersey to shake things up.

Ideally, Gallant said, MacKenzie won't have to be used on the power play again.

"I???like him, but I???hope not,"???Gallant said. "I???hope our power-play guys start to play real well and work real hard. As coaches, you do that. When you're not happy with something, you put different guys out there and hopefully they light a spark under your guys. Everybody has roles on your team and you want guys to do their role and that's how you become a good team."

For the Senators, the game Monday concludes their three-game season-opening road trip and will feature some lineup changes.

The most noteworthy will have 2013 first-round pick Curtis Lazar sitting out after going without a point in his first two NHL games, Thursday against the Nashville Predators and Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It's an opportunity for him to take a breath, maybe relax a little," coach Paul MacLean said of the 19-year-old forward. "He's gone through a lot through the summer and training camp."

Along with Lazar, defenseman Jared Cowen and forward Mike Hoffman will sit out Monday after playing the first two games. Moving into the lineup will be defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, and forwards Colin Greening and Erik Condra.

Cowen was benched in the third period of Ottawa's 3-2 shootout victory against Tampa Bay on Saturday. He played 2:10 in that third period and didn't get on the ice for the final 7:26 of regulation and all of overtime.

"It's not because of his play to take him out of the lineup,"?????????MacLean said. "It's more to do with getting Patrick in the lineup and using the depth of our team. For the most part, it's to get them into games. It's the third game of the year; we felt before we head home we need to get everybody into games.''

Here are the projected lineups:


Clarke MacArthurKyle TurrisMark Stone

Bobby RyanMika ZibanejadAlex Chiasson

Milan MichalekDavid LegwandChris Neil

Colin GreeningZack SmithErik Condra

Chris PhillipsErik Karlsson

Patrick WierciochCody Ceci

Mark BorowieckiEric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Mike Hoffman, Jared Cowen

Injured: Marc Methot (back)


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander BarkovJussi Jokinen

Scottie UpshallNick BjugstadBrad Boyes

Sean BergenheimDave BollandTomas Fleischmann

Tomas KopeckyDerek MacKenzieShawn Thornton

Willie MitchellDmitry Kulikov

Brian CampbellAaron Ekblad

Dylan OlsenErik Gudbranson

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Scratches: Brandon Pirri, Colby Robak, Jimmy Hayes

Injuries: None

Status report: Gallant said after the Panthers' optional skate that he was planning on using the same lineup as in the first two games, although he did leave open the possibility of a change. Bolland and Thornton both missed practice Sunday, but Gallant said there were given a maintenance day. ... Despite Lehner's impressive 38-save performance against Tampa Bay, MacLean will go with Anderson against the Panthers, a team for which he played three seasons (2006-09). Anderson, who stopped 34 of 37 shots in a 3-2 loss against Nashville, has a 10-2-1 record against Florida.

Who's hot:???????????????????????????Campbell had an assist in each of the first two games and has a four-game point streak dating back to last season. ... MacKenzie had a goal and an assist in Florida's first two games, the first time in his career he began a season with a two-game point streak. ... Turris and Chiasson each had a point in each of Ottawa's first two games.

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