The streak is over.
Matt Duchense and Magnus Paajarvi scored two goals each as the Ottawa Senators snapped the Florida Panthers’ franchise-record eight-game home winning streak with a 5-3 win on Monday night at the BB&T Center.
Florida’s Aleksander Barkov nearly gave the Panthers their first lead of the game when he got a breakaway, shorthanded attempt with 5:51 left in the third period. But Barkov failed to fool Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, a Broward County resident and a former Panther.
After Barkov came up empty, Duchense scored the game winner with 3:00 remaining in the third. Jean-Gabriel Pageau added an insurance goal 75 seconds later.
Never miss a local story.
Here are five takeaways from the Panthers loss:
1. The Panthers are still in good shape. With 75 points, the Panthers are three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card playoff spot, currently held by the New Jersey Devils (78 points).
But the Columbus Blue Jackets (79 points) won their fifth straight game on Monday night and are making a statement that they will not be easy to catch.
The Devils, who are one game into a brutal six-game road trip that goes all the way out west before heading all the way east for a game against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, appear to be the team most vulnerable to the Panthers.
Florida also has two games in hand over the Devils New Jersey and three over Columbus.
2. Tough Trocheck takes a licking and keeps on dishing. Vincent Trocheck took a hard hit from Ottawa right winger Tom Pyatt and left the ice briefly in the second period. But Trocheck came back and finished with two assists.
He was Florida’s best player on the night, twice making the key play to tie the score.
With 2:32 left in the second period, Trocheck made a great move along the right boards, controlling the puck and then firing a cross-ice pass to Mike Matheson to tie the score 2-2.
Then, with 4:23 expired in the third, Trocheck made a pinpoint pass to set up Jonathan Huberdeau on the doorstep to tie the score 3-3.
3. Sweet night for Anderson. Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 35 saves to earn the win.
Before the game, he hosted the state championship hockey team from Stoneman Douglas High, leaving 60 tickets for the players and their families.
The entire Senators team showed up to greet the Douglas kids, handing them signed jerseys.
Anderson’s wife, Nicholle, was also there. She announced in May of 2017 that she was free of throat cancer. She is a teacher in the Douglas school system. And Douglas High, of course, is still reeling from the Feb. 14 shooting that claimed the lives of 14 students and three teachers.
4. Lineup change. Panthers winger Denis Malgin, who had missed seven games due to a knee injury, returned to action and was placed on the second line with Trocheck and Huberdeau.
But at the start of the second period, Panthers coach Bob Boughner went back to Frank Vatrano on the second line, moving him up and Malgin down.
That seemed to work as the Panthers outscored the Senators 2-0 in that period and also enjoyed a 17-2 advantage on shots on goal. In fact, the first 11 shots on goal in the period were fired by the Panthers as they clearly dominated.
Ottawa didn’t get its first shot on goal in the period until just 6:19 remained in the second.
5. Happy birthday, Daddy: Panthers first-line winger Evgenii Dadonov scored on his 29th birthday, showing his great speed on the rush.
Dadonov has been red hot for a while now with 16 goals in his past 26 games.