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Post-game report: Florida 5 Ottawa 4 (overtime)

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA (AP) - The Ottawa Senators clinched the Northeast Division title despite losing 5-4 in overtime to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Daniel Alfredsson scored with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game at four and send the game to OT, earning the Senators the point that clinched the division title.

Joe Nieuwendyk won the game for Florida, scoring 3:30 into the extra period.

Senators center Bryan Smolinski won a faceoff to the right of Roberto Luongo with 3.2 seconds left and Dany Heatley passed the puck back to Alfredsson, who fired a slap shot from the right point just over Luongo's glove for his 42nd of the season.

Heatley collected his 100th point of the season on the play.

Ottawa remains atop the Eastern Conference with 111 points. The Senators, who finished 29-9-3 overall at home, had a season-high four-game losing streak prior to Tuesday's 4-3 overtime win over Boston.

The Senators have two road games remaining, Saturday in Toronto, and Tuesday against the New York Rangers. Second place Carolina trails the Senators by two points and has three games remaining, including two at home.

Luongo made nine of his 46 saves while Florida was two men short and Panthers captain Olli Jokinen got two points, including his 38th goal.

Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Alexei Semenov, Jon Sim and Jokinen.

Mike Fisher closed the gap to 3-1 in the second period and Jason Spezza made it a one-goal game early in the third.

Martin Gelinas scored his 17th at 13:20 to put Florida up 4-2 but Peter Schaefer made it close once again 1:10 later with his 20th goal, his fourth short-handed effort of the season.

Notes: Jokinen, whose previous career high was 36 goals in 2002-03, has the third highest season total in Florida history. Pavel Bure broke his own team record with 59 goals in 2000-01, one more than he scored the previous season. ... Senators G Dominik Hasek hopes to return Tuesday in New York for Ottawa's final game of the regular season against the Rangers. Hasek skated in full equipment for about 10 minutes during the Senators' morning practice but did not face any shots. ... The game drew 19,173, Ottawa's 33rd sellout of the season. ... The Senators lead the NHL with 24 shorthanded goals. Edmonton set the league record with 36 shorthanded goals in 1983-84. The Oilers, who have the four highest single-season shorthanded totals in league history, had 28 in 1986-87, and 27 in both 1985-86, and 1988-89.


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