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Panthers look for revenge against Senators

by Davis Harper

SENATORS (2-0-0) at PANTHERS (1-2-0)

TV: SNET-East, FS-Florida

Season series: This is the second of three season meetings between the teams. On Monday, Ottawa thrashed the Panthers 4-0 in the Senators' home opener at Scotiabank Place. Ottawa has won five of its last six games in Florida.

Big story: Ottawa has been superb so far this season, leading the NHL with a plus-7 goal differential after convincing wins against Winnipeg and Florida. The Senators will be looking to continue that trend in the second half of a home-and-home against the stumbling Panthers. Florida has lost two straight on the road after a 5-1 home win over Carolina in their opening-day matchup.

Team Scope:

Senators: While other Eastern teams - the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, even the Panthers - have struggled under the weight of high expectations for the shortened season, the Senators have made a seamless transition. Old stalwarts like Kyle Turris, who has 3 goals in two games, have gelled with new additions like Marc Methot, who is plus-4 so far. Goalie Craig Anderson, who has 59 saves and a .983 save percentage, hasn't conceded a goal in 114 minutes.

In their home opener against Florida, the Senators fired 37 shots at Jose Theodore on their way to a 4-0 win in front of a sellout crowd. During the second period when Florida outshot Ottawa 12-8, captain Daniel Alfredsson made sure his team didn't rest on its lead.

"[Alfredsson] said that we were getting complacent - we couldn't (mess) around," Methot said. "I think we rebounded really well. We definitely addressed it."

Panthers: The season could hardly have started better for Florida. The Panthers beat Carolina 5-1 at the BB&T Center, with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau notching his first goal and first assist. Brian Campbell added two goals and Jose Theodore (41 saves) narrowly missed a shutout. Since then, however, the Panthers endured a nightmare trip to eastern Canada, where Florida conceded eight goals and scored just one in back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Montreal.

With key players like Kris Versteeg, Sean Bergenheim and Marcel Goc sidelined and new additions like Huberdeau, Alex Kovalev and Peter Mueller inserted into the lineup, the Panthers continue to look for the right personnel mix. Despite the early concerns, center Stephen Weiss assured reporters after the Montreal loss that the Panthers aren't panicking yet.

"I think in the back of your mind, yes, but we're three games in and it's not time to hit the panic button," Weiss said. "We've got some new guys, some new faces, and we haven't had a lot of time to practice so we have to learn on the fly. It's not the end of the world, we lost two in a row and we just have to regroup and stay positive."

Who's hot: Ottawa blueliner and 2011-12 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson got off to a hot start with a goal and two assists on opening day. Karlsson has 10 shots so far this season.

Injury report: Defenseman Mike Lundin is questionable for Ottawa with a broken finger. … For Florida, Michael Caruso is doubtful for Thursday's game with a bruised wrist. Bergenheim (groin), Erik Gudbranson (shoulder) and Goc (ankle) are all day-to-day. Versteeg remains on injured reserve as he recovers from hip surgery.

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