Florida Panthers

Panthers get tripped up in 3-2 loss to Senators

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) shoots the puck past Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Ottawa, Ontario.
Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) shoots the puck past Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Ottawa, Ontario. AP

Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on a penalty shot with 12.9 seconds left in overtime to hand the Panthers the 3-2 loss Thursday night, leaving Florida three points behind New Jersey in the battle for the last playoff spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

Aaron Ekblad and Evgenii Dadonov scored for the Panthers and goaltender James Reimer made 27 saves.

The Panthers have 86 points after 76 games. The Devils picked up a point in their 4-3 loss in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins, giving them 89 points after 77 games.

The Panthers led 2-1 after two periods on goals by Ekblad, on the power play at 5:19 of the second, and Dadonov 91 seconds later, but gave up a goal 16 seconds into the third period after defenseman Mike Matheson failed to handle the puck below the goal line in the Florida zone to Reimer’s right.

The puck wound up at the point and Paajarvi deflected a shot by Zack Smith behind Reimer.

Ekblad’s goal was his 16th of the season, tying the franchise record for goals in a season by a defenseman set by Jason Garrison in the 2011-12 season.

▪ Panthers forward Henrik Borgstrom made his NHL debut. The 20-year-old, the No. 23 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, signed a three-year entry-level deal Monday after leaving the University of Denver after his sophomore season.

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