HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) -New Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire stopped 14 of 16 shots in Ottawa's 3-1 loss to Florida in both teams' preseason opener Tuesday night.
Scott Timmins and Kamil Kreps put Florida ahead in the first period and David Booth added a goal in the second.
"It was good to get that first one in. It's totally different from practice and I'm glad it's done," Leclaire said. "I felt OK in the beginning and I started to feel better as the game went on. Every year is the same. The first one is always a rough one and then you start from there."
Alexandre Picard put the Senators up 1-0 on his shot from the blue line through traffic to beat Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen.
Ottawa played without stars Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Alex Kovalev.
"You train so hard over the summer, and no matter what you do it's playing games that gets you into game shape," Booth said. "You don't want to be the best in your first game of the season, you want to be better as the season goes on."
Leclaire was acquired by the Senators in March for Antoine Vermette, but had to wait until Tuesday to make his Senators debut after season-ending ankle surgery in January.
The Panthers open the season on Oct. 3 in Finland against the Chicago Blackhawks.