SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Martin Prusek is making the most of his opportunity to
play while Patrick Lalime is fighting the flu.
In just his fifth start this season, Prusek stopped 30 shots for his first
career shutout and helped the Ottawa Senators beat the Florida Panthers 4-0
Prusek also was in net Monday when Ottawa snapped Philadelphia's 12-game
unbeaten streak with a 4-1 home victory.
"He's getting better and better from game to game," Senators defenseman
Zdeno Chara said. "He played really well against Philadelphia. He was making
some unbelievable saves. When you're making saves, his confidence is getting
better. You can see he's much more comfortable in the net."
Chara had a goal and two assists, matching his career high of three points.
Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Martin Havlat scored the other goals.
"It just happened," Chara said of his scoring spurt. "It's nice when
you're getting points, but that only happened because everybody was working
hard. It's just not my credit."
The loss extended Florida's winless streak to four games (0-2-2), and the
Panthers were shut out for the second time this season.
"Truthfully, I blame myself for this," Florida coach Rick Dudley said.
"We came off a hard trip. We probably had a pretty easy two practices in terms
of skating. We had no legs tonight.
"I don't think it was a matter of them playing particularly well, although
they're a very good hockey team and they take advantage of mistakes."
Prusek, playing his 26th NHL game, made most of his toughest saves in the
second period. His best was a glove stop on a wrist shot by Vaclav Nedorost in
the first minute of the period. Prusek also made a nice pad save on Olli
Jokinen's one-timer early in the third period.
Florida goalie Roberto Luongo finished with 39 saves, but his four-game
unbeaten streak was snapped (2-0-2).
The Senators got off to a quick start, getting four shots on goal in the
first 40 seconds.
"With a first shift like that, that kind of set the tone," Alfredsson
said. "We played really well the whole first period. Luongo kept it at 1-0,
but it was a very good period for us."
The fifth shot produced the first goal of the game when Chara's drive from
the point got under a sliding Marcus Nilson and went off the post to the right
Ottawa almost made it 2-0 a minute later when Todd White's shot hit the
Alfredsson increased the lead to two at 6:49 of the second period with some
beautiful stickhandling. After getting past sliding defenseman Mathieu Biron,
Alfredsson deked Luongo to his forehand side and the puck trickled just past
the goal line.
The lead increased to 3-0 at 15:13 of the second when Spezza's slap shot
from a sharp angle went over Luongo's left shoulder.
Havlat closed the scoring with a wrist shot between Luongo's legs at 8:10 of
the third period.
"I thought we had a strong defensive game," Ottawa coach Jacques Martin
said. "When you do that, usually you get a lot of good opportunities."
By the end of the game, the sparse crowd was booing the home team.
"That hurts but we deserved it," Panthers defenseman Mike Van Ryn said.
"We have to learn from it and regroup."