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Ottawa Senators Win Wild One, Beat #FlaPanthers 4-3 in Final Seconds

OttawaOTTAWA – One really didn't need to see the final outcome to know how the Panthers fared Thursday night. All you had to do was look at Jack Skille sitting at his stall, head in hands.

The host Senators scored with 2.5 seconds remaining on Thursday to pull out a 4-3 win in a game that was almost certainly headed toward overtime.

Nick Foligno corralled a rebound off a Daniel Alfredsson shot, circled his way to the net and put the puck in. 

It's a point the Panthers may regret giving up. Florida had trailed 3-2 going into the final minute before Kris Versteeg tied things up with 47.1 seconds left. 

Rookie goalie Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves in the game and was, for the most part, outstanding once more. Ottawa outshot the Panthers 15-6 in the final period and 38-25 overall. 

“We can't give up points in this league, especially right then,'' Versteeg said. “They controlled the walls most of the game and we can't win that way. We have to get back to the way we played in Montreal. We left [Markstrom] out to dry all night. That's junk. You can't expect the goalie to win for you every night.''

Said coach Kevin Dineen: “When you end up on the wrong side of those ones, it has a lot of sting. There are some lessons to be learned. It was sloppy play by us. But I don't think that's the defining moment for our season. But it's a tough loss.''

Markstrom, vying for his and the Panthers third straight win, was strong throughout the game. Ottawa trailed 1-0 after Jason Garrison scored his third of the season in the opening period and didn't score until Alfredsson roofed a puck against Markstrom on the 16th shot of the night. 

Until that goal, Markstrom had stopped 82 of the previous 83 shots faced dating to the third period of his game against Washington on Oct. 18.

With the score tied at 2 going into the third, the two teams traded shots and chances with former Panthers goalie Craig Anderson looking strong as he led the Sens to their fourth straight win. 

Ottawa appeared to take the win late in the third when Colin Greening scored with 2:07 left. 

But the Panthers came right back as Versteeg took a cross-ice pass from Weiss – who scored Florida's second goal on a tip of a Tomas Fleischmann shot – and buried into an empty net. Anderson was stuck on the other side of the cage and couldn't recover.

Only the Sens took all the momentum away as Foligno snared the game-winner.

“They put a lot of pressure on net and I thought we stood up pretty good,'' Markstrom said.

“Unfortunately they made it 3-2 with two minutes left. We stood up as a team and worked hard to make it 3-3. The last goal can't happen in those tight road games. We had an opportunity to get points, to win a game. We need to take them.''


At the end of Thursday's morning skate, Dineen called the team into one corner of the ice and gathered them close. Rookie Erik Gudbranson, Dineen said, would be staying with the Panthers after his nine-game tryout was completed later that night.

Teammates celebrated by banging their sticks on the ice and taking turns giving the 19-year-old a hug. Wayne Gudbranson, Erik's father, watched from the stands. He was in tears and couldn't speak when offered congratulations.

“Definitely knowing I'm part of this team now and staying for the year is just awesome,'' said Erik, who hails from the Ottawa area. 

Said Dineen: “I thought it was the right call to let him know, and let him know in front of his teammates. It's great news not only for Erik, but this is a reflection on his family. Nothing is given at this level; you have to earn it. And he has through the past eight games.''

-- Winger Mikael Samuelsson, acquired last Saturday in the David Booth deal, joined the Panthers in Ottawa and will travel with the team to Buffalo before returning to South Florida.

Samuelsson said he had no timetable for his return to the ice as he is rehabbing after complications from his sports hernia surgery from last May.