OTTAWA Take away 19 seconds on Saturday night and that was a pretty good performance from the Florida Panthers.
Roberto Luongo made 19 saves, and the Panthers killed off seven power plays. But during a 19-second stretch of the first period the Ottawa Senators scored twice to account for all the game’s scoring in a 2-0 victory.
The Panthers were unable to build on the momentum they had started with a 2-1 overtime win over Detroit on Thursday, managing just one shot on goal during the first 14 minutes of the game.
Erik Karlsson and Derick Brassard scored for the Senators, and Mike Condon made 24 saves for his second shutout of the season.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle said. “They had a good start, and sometimes you have to weather the storm throughout courses of games, and they did a good job in the first 10 or 12 minutes. If you look at the second period we were better.
“I thought there were stretches where we were good offensively, and sometimes you run into a hot goalie. For most of the game we did the right thing, and they got a couple of early goals.”
Things could have been worse if not for the work of a Panthers’ penalty kill that yielded just six shots during those seven kills.
“I thought our PK did a good job killing seven power plays, but where it hurts is when everyone is not getting into the game as much as when there are not as many penalties,” Yandle said.
As for their own power play, the Panthers were stopped on four opportunities, including an 83-second stretch in the second period where they skated five-on-three.
“I thought our power play was OK,” Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe said. “During the five-on-three we had some good looks, but we couldn’t capitalize. At the end of the day our dumps need to be smarter and away from the goalie, and we have to get a better forecheck going.
“We started slow and the first 10 minutes we were back on our heels kind of waiting to see what they were going to do.”
It took just those 19 seconds for the Senators to open up a 2-0 lead in the first, and both goals required some fancy footwork.
On the first goal, Karlsson had a pass from behind the net bounce off his stick right to his left foot. He then kicked the puck back to his stick and beat Luongo from the top of the crease at 6:46.
Brassard then took a pass at the side of the net and kicked the puck to his stick before cutting around a fallen Luongo to score at 7:05.
“We came out to play right from the start, and it translated into the whole game. We had great goaltending and that kept us in the game,” Karlsson said. “We battled hard all game, and they made it hard for us. They showed they are a good team and created their fair share of scoring chances, but Condon played great for us.”
Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad left the game for repairs in the first period after getting hit just below the right eye with the puck.
“Those are hockey players and he’s a tough kid, and they don’t usually stay in the locker room too long. They just get a few stiches and get back out there,” Rowe said.
The Panthers continue their trip on Monday night against Boston.
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