Defenceman Alex Picard had the lone goal as the Ottawa Senators dropped a 3-1 decision to the Florida Panthers in their pre-season opener Tuesday night at the Metro Centre.
Picard, returning to the city in which he played major junior hockey with the Halifax Mooseheads, opened the scoring 15:22 into the first period. His screened shot from the point got past Panthers netminder Scott Clemmensen. Drawing assists on the goal were rookie blueliner Erik Karlsson
and Josh Hennessy.
But Florida erased that early deficit before the period ended. Scott Timmins tied it up just 41 seconds after Picard's goal, then Kamil Kreps struck just at the 17:54 mark during a delayed penalty to put the Panthers ahead to stay. David Booth's second-period goal added insurance.
Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire stopped 14 of 16 shots in his first game action since undergoing season-ending ankle surgery back in January. He gave way to rookie Robin Lehner
midway through the second period.
The two teams meet again Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., Rogers 22). After a day's break, the Senators then go back-to-back with the Canadiens, Friday in Montreal (7:30 p.m., RDS) and Saturday in Ottawa (7 p.m., Rogers 22).