Florida Panthers

Panthers try to shake off loss to Senators as trip continues in Boston

Florida Panthers Reilly Smith gets congratulations from teammate Jason Demer after Smith scored the winning goal as they play the Tampa Bay Lighting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, November 7, 2016.
Florida Panthers Reilly Smith gets congratulations from teammate Jason Demer after Smith scored the winning goal as they play the Tampa Bay Lighting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, November 7, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Panthers did pretty much everything right on Saturday night in Ottawa.

They killed off all seven power plays the Senators had, limiting them to just six shots.

They outshot the Senators 24-21, including a 13-7 advantage in the second period, and pretty much carried the play all game, with the exception of the opening 14 minutes.

That’s when they had all of their problems.

The Panthers produced just one shot on goal during that span and allowed the only two goals of the game in a 2-0 loss.

To break it down further, those two goals came just 19 seconds apart in the early stages of the game when Erik Karlsson opened the scoring at 6:46 and Derick Brassard closed out the scoring at 7:05.

Both goals were scored within inches of Roberto Luongo, who was perfect, although lonely, for the rest of the night.

The good news is the Panthers won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the win column, as they play the fifth game of their six-game trip on Monday night in Boston against the Bruins.

The will close out their longest trip of the season Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“They’re big games against the Atlantic Division, so we just have to move past [the Ottawa game] and try and end the trip with four points,” Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle said.

Monday night’s game will be a homecoming of sorts for interim coach Tome Rowe, who is from nearby Lynn, Massachusetts.

But Rowe is not making a big deal about his first game as an NHL head coach in his hometown.

“I’m excited about it. It’s the same feeling I had when I came here as a player, but I’ve got to be more focused because I’ve got 20 guys to worry about,” Rowe said.

“We’ve got a game to win, and I’m coaching against one of the best coaches in the league in Claude Julien, and we’ve got to get back on the winning track.”

Scoring some more goals would go a long way to getting the Panthers back on that track. They have just eight goals in their past six games.

“We’re passing up too many shot opportunities, and we probably need to get a little more motion in the offensive zone and get a little more creative. You have to take advantage of the opportunities you get, and if you’re only getting a few you want to bury them.” Rowe explained.

“But it will come. We’ve got too much skill here for it not to come. Right now, we’re in a bit of a dry spell and things aren’t clicking. The guys are trying too hard and when you try too hard you’re not reacting naturally to what you see.”

▪ Some good news is there seems to be no ill effects that will keep defenseman Aaron Ekblad out of any game action.

He was struck beneath the right eye in the first period on Saturday, had to leave the game for a spell and received stitches before returning.

▪ The Panthers have called up forward Paul Thompson from the Springfield (Massachusetts) Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League.

“I know he’ll be ready to play. He’s got a heavy shot band; he’ll play a hard-nosed, two-way game,” Rowe said of the Methuen, Massachusetts, resident.

“He’ll go in and give us a spark. What we really like about him in training camp was how hard he played.”

Thompson had six goals and 15 points in 20 games with the Thunderbirds to go with 29 penalty minutes.

Monday: Panthers at Bruins

When/where: 7 p.m.; TD Garden, Boston.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WMEN 640.

Series: Boston leads 47-35-6.

Scouting report: The Bruins, who beat the Panthers 2-1 in Sunrise on Nov. 1, have won their past two games and three of four. Florida snapped a nine-game winless streak in Boston with a 4-1 victory there in March.

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