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Panthers play host to resurgent Senators

by Mike G. Morreale
SENATORS (23-34-9) at PANTHERS (27-31-9)

TV -- SNET-E (HD), FS-F (HD)

Last 10 --
Ottawa 5-4-1; Florida 3-5-2

Season series -- This is the third of four meetings between these clubs. Ottawa has won the previous two contests between the teams, including a 5-1 triumph on Feb. 23 in Ottawa.

Big story -- The Panthers remain in mathematical contention for an Eastern Conference playoff berth by the slimmest of margins -- the club is nine points behind eighth-seeded Buffalo with 15 games remaining. Its game with Ottawa marks the third of a seven-game homestand which will conclude with contests against Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Toronto and the New York Islanders. Ottawa, meanwhile, sits last in the East with 55 points but is playing much better of late.

Team Scope:

Senators -- Rookie forward Erik Condra scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 2:13 remaining in the third period, and goalie Craig Anderson made 31 saves to lead the Senators to a 2-1 victory over the red-hot New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at Prudential Center. Since coming over in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 18, Anderson has gone 5-3-0 for the Senators. Condra, one of several rookies on the team looking to make an impression, notched his second two-goal game in five matches -- he has 4 goals in 10 games this season.

Panthers -- Goalie Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves, included all 14 shots faced in a pressure-packed third period, to lead Florida to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. It was the first meeting between the teams since the opening of the 2009-10 campaign in Helsinki, Finland. David Booth, Clay Wilson and Marty Reasoner scored to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead in the first period and Vokoun made it stand despite the fact his club could only manage seven shots over the final two periods.

Who's hot --
Booth has now scored goals in three straight games (4 points), boosting his season totals to 20 goals and 36 points in 67 games. … Senators veteran center Jason Spezza, who is coming off perhaps his finest two-way performance of the season against the Devils, has 2 goals and 8 points over the last six games.

Injury report --
Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner (knee) and forwards Daniel Alfredsson (back), Peter Regin (shoulder) and Milan Michalek (foot) are out. … The Panthers are without forwards Jack Skille (ankle), Rostislav Olesz (knee), Shawn Matthias (ankle), Byron Bitz (sports hernia), Evgeny Dadonov (broken finger), Ryan Carter (ribs) and defenseman Alexander Sulzer (ribs).

Stat pack --
The Senators have killed off 27 straight penalties spanning eight games. The team even denied New Jersey on a pair of 5-on-3 power-plays midway through the second period in Tuesday's triumph. The Senators are currently 15th in the League with an 82.4 percent efficiency on the penalty-kill.

Puck drop --
Florida coach Peter DeBoer notched his 100th NHL victory on Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. DeBoer, who is in his third season, is 100-98-32.

"One hundred wins, 100 losses,'' said DeBoer after the game. "Obviously, they cranked it up a notch. We bent, but didn't break.''

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