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Panthers-Senators Preview @NHL
Panthers-Senators Preview

GAME: Florida Panthers (6-9-4) at Ottawa Senators (13-3-0).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Florida Panthers couldn't avoid their ninth straight defeat in their last game. To keep the losing streak from reaching double digits, they'll have to knock off the NHL's highest-scoring team, the Ottawa Senators.

Florida's skid is its longest since a team-record 13-game skid from Feb. 7-March 23, 1998. The Panthers, who haven't won since Oct. 25 at Pittsburgh, fell 4-3 in overtime to first-place Montreal on Tuesday night.

The loss was especially painful for the Panthers after they rallied from a 3-0 third-period deficit. Gregory Campbell and Olli Jokinen scored goals 1:02 apart, and Stephen Weiss drew Florida even at 15:11 of the period.

The Canadiens kept the Panthers' losing streak intact, however, when Saku Koivu beat Roberto Luongo with four seconds remaining in overtime.

Luongo, who made a season-high 42 saves, leads the league with 578 shots faced.

"It's frustrating," said Florida forward Martin Gelinas, who assisted on Weiss' tying goal. "What can I say? It is disappointing. It's been like that for two weeks. The positive thing is we got a point, at least, tonight but we've got to get better starts and play harder from the start."

Next up for the Panthers is the Senators, who are averaging an NHL-best 4.6 goals per game. For the second time this season, though, Ottawa couldn't get its offense going against Martin Gerber and the Carolina Hurricanes and lost 2-1 on Tuesday, snapping their five-game winning streak.

"He made some awesome saves," Ottawa defenseman Zdeno Chara said of Gerber, who stopped 31 shots and didn't allow a goal until Daniel Alfredsson broke through in the third.

Ottawa fired 46 shots at Gerber on Oct. 24, but he turned away 44 of them for a 3-2 victory.

Dominik Hasek made 17 saves Tuesday for the Senators, who outscored opponents 31-9 during the winning streak.

"I thought we were over-trying," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "I thought in the second that once we got behind we kind of ran around and tried to do too much individually."

Dany Heatley assisted on Alfredsson's goal, extending his point streak to 16 games to start the season. That's the longest such streak since Mario Lemieux had a point in the first 28 games in 1995-96.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 16): Panthers - 16 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Southeast Division. Senators - 26 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Nathan Horton, 7 goals; Jokinen, 11 assists and 16 points; Branislav Mezei, 37 PIM. Senators - Alfredsson, 16 goals and 32 points; Jason Spezza, 23 assists; Brian McGrattan, 48 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 16): Panthers - Power play: 12.9 percent (15 for 116), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.1 percent (97 for 121), 23rd. Senators - Power play: 18.5 percent (20 for 108), 14th. Penalty killing: 84.7 percent (89 for 105), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (6-7-4, 2 SO, 2.71 GAA); Jamie McLennan (0-2-0, 2.79). Senators - Hasek (9-3-0, 3, 1.90); Ray Emery (4-0-0, 2.47).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Senators, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: March 31, 2004; Senators, 5-4. At Sunrise, Fla., Martin Havlat scored the only goal of the third period at 13:34 to give Ottawa the season series.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 2-7-3 on the road; Senators - 7-2-0 at home.

Associated Press
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