Panthers have sights on Devils in playoff chase
After 8-game home win streak ends, Florida starts anew.
SUNRISE — The streak is over. The playoff chase is far from 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 fifirst 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.
But the Panthers are still in good shape. With 75 points, the Panthers were three points out of the fifinal
Eastern Conference wildcard playoff spot, held by the New Jersey Devils (78 points), going into play Tuesday night.
The Columbus Blue Jackets ( 79 points) won their fififth 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 outwest 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 and three over Columbus.
Notes: Vincent Trocheck took a hard hit from Ottawa right winger Tom Pyatt and left the ice brieflfly in the second period. But Trocheck came back and fifinished 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, with4:23 expired in the third, Trocheck made a pinpoint pass to setupon the door step to tie the score 3-3....
Before the game, Senators goalie Craig Anderson 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, han ding 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. ... 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.