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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Senators 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 1 2 0 4
Senators 2 0 0 0 2
FLA - J. Hayes (4), A. Barkov (6), PPG - T. Gilbert (2), SHG - T. Kopecky (3)
OTT - C. Neil (5), PPG - J. Spezza (11)

OTTAWA —  ( - Tom Gilbert scored a power-play goal at 17:28 of the third period, Tomas Kopecky added a short-handed goal at 18:19, and the Florida Panthers extended their season-high winning streak to five games Thursday with a 4-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators.

Gilbert gave Florida its second lead at 3-2 when he scored his second of the season with three seconds left in a penalty to Ottawa's Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Kopecky's third made it a two-goal lead 51 seconds later after Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver was sent off for tripping at 17:45.

"Just the movement. I think the work was the biggest thing for our power play tonight. We created turnovers which opened the ice up and it was a great play by Flash to get me the puck."

- Panthers forward Brad Boyes.
1. Up And Down: For a third straight game, the Panthers were playing a team that wsa playing the second game of back-to-backs and they capitalized on it early just like in Toronto. While they scored three and a half minutes in on Tuesday, it took all of 5:39 for them to find the back of the net as Shawn Matthias and Jimmy Hayes worked their way down the ice on a two-on-one break. Hayes put the puck top shelf for the first goal of the game. They would trail after 20 minutes however as Ottawa got a good goal from Chris Neil after video replay showed no distinct kicking motion less than four minutes later and then took the lead on a beautiful power play goal from their captain Jason Spezza with 29 seconds left in the frame.

2. Panther Hockey Second: The Cats stepped up their game in the second and played their game, similar to the second periods of late and they got the game tied with a late goal from rookie center Aleksander Barkov. Ottawa and Florida traded chances throughout the period but Scott Clemmensen and Craig Anderson made the saves up until 2:49 remaining. There, Barkov crashed the net and neatly redirected Tom Gilbert's point shot past Anderson for his sixth of the season. The two netminders would combine for 21 stops between them with the Cats goalie making 12 on his end of the ice.

3. Make It Five: It was more chances in the third period and this game looked to be headed to overtime but defenseman Dylan Olsen was cut with a high stick and the Panthers used most of the power play before finally cashing in for the eventual game-winner. There, Tomas Fleischmann found defenseman Tom Gilbert with a cross-ice pass and the blueliner scored into the open net with two seconds on the clock and 2:32 remaining. Things got dicey as Mike Weave was sent to the box for tripping on the next shift but Tomas Kopecky made sure the Cats would win their fifth straight with a shorthanded tally. Florida continues their strong play of late, having won seven of their last eight games to push their record to 14-17-5 on the season.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@88Wheels: I'd like to file a complaint with the @FlaPanthers how am I supposed to sleep after that shot of adrenaline from that win? #happyinsomniac 

@meat_tornado: Pantherrrrrssss!!!! 5 in a row baby! @FlaPanthers #winningstreak #REDRising #enfuego #weonfire

@CNOTEZ: Shouts out to my @FlaPanthers ..5 wins in a row. Might be the hottest team on ice right now. #finallyseeingRED 

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Christopher Carlsson: When Kopecky scored short handed I screamed out loud and probably woke at least one neighbour up!

Rich Bedford: All four lines lookin great, solid goaltending. I credit Horachek the most.

Jeffrey Hernandez: This win helps everyone. It is a huge confidence builder for our youngsters, puts us mere points out of a playoff spot, and makes all us folks at home go to sleep proud. #WeSeeRed

1. 36 games. It took a while to net their first shorthanded goal of the season but it was a big one as Tomas Kopecky added the insurance goal with 1:41 to play. With their goal, only Phoenix has yet to record a shorthanded goal this season.

4. Getting good play from Scott Clemmensen has been key over their winning streak. Clemmensen has allowed two goals or less in each of his four straight victories. The last time he recorded a victory in four straight games played came back on 2009 when he won seven straight from Jan. 13-30 while with the New Jersey Devils.

5. The second overall pick in the past summer draft, center Aleksander Barkov has picked up the offense of late. Tying the game late in the second, Barkov registered his fifth point in his last five games (2-3-5).

29. Looking to kill off their first penalty of the night, the Panthers almost made it to the intermission and a new sheet of ice but Jason Spezza scored with 29 seconds remaining in the first, 44 seconds into the man advantage.

51. The Panthers struck twice in a 51 second span late in the third to put the game out of reach as Tom Gilbert and Kopecky gave the Cats the regulation victory.

Scott Clemmensen
Has been strong between the pipes over the last four games and Thursday night might have been his best work, stopping 12, 10 and 10 shots in each of the three periods.

34 Shots, 32 Saves, .941 SV%
Florida is right back at it Friday night as they close out their four-game road trip with a meeting against the Winnipeg Jets. This is the second and final meeting between the once division rivals. Florida earned a 5-2 victory at the BB&T Center on Dec. 5. The Cats scored four straight and got goals from five different skaters in the victory. The Jets who lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Tuesday, are currently seventh in the Central Division with a 15-16-5 record. They're led offensively by forwards Bryan Little (31 points in 36 games) and Blake Wheeler (25 points in 36 games). Ondrej Pavelec has a 10-14-4 record with a .908 save percentage and 2.90 GAA and Al Montoya has a 5-2-1 record with .920 save percentage and 2.23 GAA. 

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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