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Cats Blanked by Sens

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Goldie's post-game recap:

Ottawa returned the favor Wednesday night shutting out the Panthers 4-0. A night after the Cats blanked Montreal 1-0 , the Senators got Canada even. The Panthers just didn't have the same jump as the night before as the Senators took the lead 8:21 into the game on Chris Phillips' goal. It was 2-0 after 2 and Ottawa put it away with 2 more scores in the final period. The Panthers need to regroup as Tampa Bay comes to the BAC Saturday night. We are on the air on QAM at 6 with Panthers weekend edition hosted by Jesse Agler...Craig Minervini calls the game on radio at 7:30 as yours truly goes over to TV with Denis Potvin. The Cats have played well at home and it should be a good game Saturday between the Florida rivals.

Goldie's 2nd intermission report:

Ottawa outplayed the Panthers in the 2nd period scoring the only goal. The Cats turned it over behind the net and no one picked up Mike Fisher in front. Fisher scored to give the Senators a 2-0 lead. After allowing 15 shots on goal and numerous scoring chances in the 1st period, Ottawa's defense tightened up in the 2nd giving up just 6 shots on goal. The Cats don't have the same jump as they did last night in Montreal. So we go to the 3rd period with the Panthers desperately needing to score the next goal to have a chance to win tonight.

Goldie's 1st intermission report:

A great crowd in Ottawa despite the snow all day long outside. Inside tonight, the Cats struggled early and allowed a Chris Phillips goal 8 minutes in. But the Panthers settled down and had numerous good scoring chances in the first period. Kamil Kreps contiues to play well and had 2 good chances but Martin Gerber came up big in net. Stephen Weiss hit the post as well. Only down by a goal the Panthers are right in this one but will need to find a way to beat Gerber who always plays well against Florida. After being outshot 9-3 in the opening 9 minutes the Cats came back to outshoot Ottawa 15-13 for the opening period.

Goldie's pre-game blog:

The snow is falling this morning in Ottawa as the Panthers get ready for tonight's game against the Senators. It's the 2nd of back to back games in Canada as the Cats knocked off Montreal last night. It was a classic with Ed Belfour slamming the door in a 1-0 victory.

The Panthers are looking for a 3rd straight win and need points deperately to keep pace in the Eastern conference race. Ottawa has won the first 2 games against the Cats this season, including a 6-0 rout here in November. But this Panther team is different now and the players know how critical every game is. Penalties will be a huge key tonight. The Panthers can't allow the high powered Senators too many chances on the power play. Spezza, Heatley and Alfredsonn will make you pay dearly for those infractions.

Ottawa will go with Martin Gerber in goal because they have to. Starter Ray Emery is suspended for a high stick incident. The Panthers will decide on their goalie later today but if Belfour can physically go it's likely that he'll play. It's a tough turnaround after travelling Tuesday, playing Wednesday and then bussing to Ottawa after the game. 7:30 game time tonight...Moller and I hit the air at 7 on WQAM


Ray Emery helped the Ottawa Senators shut out the Florida Panthers in their last matchup, but he won't get the chance to do that Wednesday when the teams meet at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators goaltender is beginning a three-game suspension for slashing Montreal's Maxim Lapierre in a 5-3 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday. Emery swung his stick and hit Lapierre in the face in the second period, but the forward was wearing a visor and was not hurt.

Ottawa's No. 1 netminder will be eligible to return Feb. 22 at Buffalo. He will be replaced by backup Martin Gerber, who is 8-9-1 with a 3.09 goal-against average this season and has won three straight starts.

Gerber will be backed up by Kelly Guard, who was recalled from Binghamton of the AHL.

"I'm not focusing on the three games, just the next one is the most important," Gerber told the team's official Web site. "Preparation is the same. You can't switch your rhythm or habits just because something like (Emery's suspension) happens."

Gerber is 6-1-1 with a 2.23 GAA in eight career starts versus the Panthers - his most wins against any opponent - and has the full support of his teammates.

"(Gerber) has been working hard," Senators center Jason Spezza told the team's Web site. "We've been riding Ray and he's been great. Now Gerbs steps in, and we feel confident with him."

The Senators (32-22-3) should feel especially confident against Florida, as they are 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings between the teams. They have outscored the Panthers 12-4 in two wins this season, including a 6-0 victory on Nov. 30 when Emery recorded the shutout.

Ottawa leading scorer Dany Heatley has five goals and two assists in the two victories over Florida.

This contest begins a three-game homestand for the Senators, who are 7-1-1 in their last nine games in Ottawa.

They are coming off a home-and-home series sweep of the Canadiens, who the Panthers (22-25-11) also beat 1-0 on Tuesday. Jay Bouwmeester scored late in the second period and Ed Belfour made it hold up with 29 saves, including 16 in the final 20 minutes.

"This guy's unbelievable as far as taking care of his body, as far as stretching and understanding his body and knowing what he has to do," said Panthers coach Jacques Martin, who is the winningest coach in Ottawa franchise history with a 341-255-96 record in nine seasons there. "It's nice to see him get some results."

It was Belfour's 76th career shutout, tying him with Tony Esposito for eighth on the NHL all-time list.

"It's definitely an honor to be tied with Tony, one of my heroes," Belfour said.

The veteran netminder has gone a dismal 0-6-2 with a 5.06 GAA in his last nine games against the Senators, however, which may mean Alex Auld will get the nod Wednesday.

The Panthers are trying to match their season-high three-game winning streak set Dec. 16-21. They are just 7-15-8 away from home this season, though, and have won only two of their last 10 road games.
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