Seven straight losses doesn't usually leave room for positive feelings. The Ottawa Senators, however, have found some despite their worst slump in more than a decade.
The Senators try to win for the first time in more than two weeks Wednesday night when they face a team they have dominated - the Florida Panthers.
Although they left the ice with another loss Tuesday at Tampa Bay, the Senators (16-7-3) were pleased to erase a two-goal deficit in final two minutes before falling 4-3 in a shootout.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson scored his second goal of the third period with 1:57 left and set up Wade Redden's trying goal just 36 seconds later.
"I think we tried hard all game long, worked it pretty good, tried to create chances," Alfredsson said. "It's obviously very nice to see that we got rewarded. We would have loved to have won it in the shootout, but we're happy with getting a point."
The seven-game skid is Ottawa's first since Feb. 22-March 9, 1996 - the last season in which they failed to make the playoffs. The Senators last dropped eight in a row during an 11-game slide from Dec. 30, 1995-Jan. 25, 1996.
Tuesday's contest was the start of a season-high five-game road trip for Ottawa, which also plays 10 of its next 14 away from home. The Senators have lost four of five on the road after starting the season with five straight wins away from Scotiabank Place.
"It's pro sports and winning is the only thing that matters, but we're in kind of a slump," Alfredsson said. "As a team, when you see everybody working and you see everybody really pulling together, that's a good sign. That's a sign of better things to come, I believe."
The top line of Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley continues to produce despite the team's lack of success.
Spezza has three goals and 11 assists during an eight-game point streak while Heatley has six goals and six assists in his eight-game run. Alfredsson has three goals and eight assists in his past eight contests.
In spite of the skid, the Senators still are in first place in the Northeast Division, five points ahead of both Boston and Montreal.
Facing the Panthers (12-14-1) provides Ottawa with an excellent shot at returning to the win column. The Senators have won five straight against Florida by a combined 24-7 score, and are 19-5-1 in the series since the start of the 2000-01 season.
After winning a season-high four straight, Florida has lost the first two games of a five-game homestand. The Panthers were badly outplayed in a 2-1 loss Saturday to Washington, which owns the league's worst record.
Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 41 shots, wasn't pleased with his team's performance.
"I still can't believe it," Vokoun said. "It's how we lose that's bothering me. We got outplayed and outhustled. We're professionals and we have to be held accountable."
One of the league's lowest-scoring teams, the Panthers need to get production from someone other than captain Olli Jokinen.
Nathan Horton, who scored a career-high 31 goals last season, has only two in his last 15 games. Jozef Stumpel, coming of a personal-best 23 goals in 2006-07, has scored once in that same span.
Center Stephen Weiss, third on the team with 17 points, practiced Monday after missing Saturday's game due to an illness and is expected to play Wednesday. He has only three goals after a career-high 20 last season.