When teams come from Canada to play the Panthers, most stay near the beach. The Senators don't. Instead of heading to the surf, Ottawa settles in out west at the hotel across from the Sawgrass Mills mall.
Why mess with success?
Ottawa won its fifth straight game at BankAtlantic Center and ninth straight overall against the Panthers with a 6-2 victory Wednesday night. Florida hasn't beaten the Senators on home ice since 2009 as its bid for its first four-game winning streak since 2008 came to an end.
NHL teams have won at least four straight 55 times this season and plenty have beaten the Senators.
Both of those tasks seem impossible for the Panthers.
Before beating Tampa Bay 4-0 on Tuesday, the Senators had won just one of their previous nine.
With Washington off, Florida retained its four-point lead on the Capitals atop the Southeast Division. The Caps come to town Friday.
“The got a couple goals, bang-bang, and the rain kept falling from there,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. “Obviously it was a disappointing game in front of our home fans. This was not a good showing by us.''
Florida dominated play in the opening period, yet it was the Senators scoring first with Jim O'Brien wrapping the puck around the net with Scott Clemmensen out of position. Florida tied it on a rocket shot from Shawn Matthias from the left circle that beat former Panthers goalie Craig Anderson with 8:13 left in the period.
That was about it for the Florida highlights.
Anderson, now 7-0-1 against the Panthers, stopped all 17 shots faced in the second as the Senators scored three times to take a 4-1 lead into the third. Daniel Alfredsson's short-handed goal was the last shot Clemmensen faced as he was pulled for Jose Theodore with 5:54 left in the second.
Theodore wasn't immune to the Senators either, with Milan Michalek scoring 1:24 into the third before Sean Bergenheim picked up Florida's second goal by deflecting a Brian Campbell shot three minutes later. Ottawa's Filip Kuba ended the scoring with a late power play goal.
“I thought we were all over them, we felt pretty good and then things quickly changed,'' Matthias said. “They are so skilled, you give them anything – especially power plays – they are going to score. We just have to hope we don't lose 10 straight to them. They're coming up in the standings. We didn't play the way we wanted to.''
Defenseman Tyson Strachan signed a one-year contract extension with the Panthers on Wednesday that all but assures he'll be with the team next season.
Strachan's contract, worth $600,000, is a one-way deal which means Florida would have to pay his NHL contract if he were sent to the minors. Strachan is on a two-way contract this season and could be sent back to AHL San Antonio but would have to clear waivers.
“It's nice to know they're thinking of me for the future and that's exciting,'' said Strachan, who has played in parts of four NHL seasons including nine games with the Panthers since Dmitry Kulikov was hurt. “I'm excited and that's the only word to describe it.''
() The Panthers are 5-3-0 since the All-Star break and have been outscored 16-5 in the three losses. Florida has outscored its opponent 16-6 in the five wins.