The Panthers played one of their most complete games of the year on Friday night, keeping the puck in the Ottawa zone and making goalie Craig Anderson earn everything he got.
Florida got a little something for the effort.
With two goals in the third, the Panthers topped the Senators 3-2 at BB&T Center to move up a spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Ottawa, which was outshot 46-24 Friday, came into the night two points up on the Panthers.
“We had four breakaways in one period,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “[Anderson] was outstanding. We worked hard and persevered at the end. We kept pushing and pushing and a couple of pucks went by him.
“We played perhaps our best offensive game and competed hard.”
Anderson, the former Panthers goalie who has been terrific in Sunrise when not wearing in a Florida sweater, kept the Senators close by stoning the Panthers throughout the first and second period.
Florida tied the score at 2 just 34 seconds into the third when Sean Bergenheim hammered a shot from the right circle.
The puck clipped Anderson (4-5-4 in Sunrise while with the Panthers and 7-2-0 here as a visitor) and trickled behind him and into the net.
The Panthers got their first and final lead seven minutes later when Vincent Trocheck charged hard at the net and threaded a pass to Jimmy Hayes, who buried it.
“We had a good complete all-around game,” said Hayes, benched on Wednesday but who is now second on the team with five goals. “It’s nice to have that confidence heading out on the road.”
While Anderson was getting bombarded, Al Montoya was solid with 22 saves for his second win of the season.
Ottawa opened the scoring in the first when bruiser Chris Neal took a nice pass in front of the Florida defense and tapped it past Montoya.
Just 47 seconds later, defenseman Dylan Olsen whipped a 60-foot shot through traffic off a Trocheck rebound past Anderson.
The Senators took the lead back 2:41 into the second.
“It’s easy to be frustrated when you see your guys dominating and [Anderson] is standing on his head,” Montoya said. “I’m was thinking it was only a matter of time.”
ON THE MEND
Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo called his apparent arm strain a “weird, freak injury” but said he’s feeling much improved and hopes to be back on the ice next week.
“It’s really progressed over the past 24 hours,” said Luongo, who was injured during the second period of Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Carolina.
“I’m just hoping to be back on the ice in the next few days. … It was a weird play. I tried to play through it, and there were some plays where I had to lunge out and it flared up.”
▪ Florida was without winger Jussi Jokinen — who came into Friday tied with Nick Bjugstad for the team lead with 12 points — because of an illness.
▪ Shawn Thornton left the game in the second period after taking a puck off his face but returned after being stitched up.
Thornton said he would likely be visiting a dentist Saturday.