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3 posts from January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

SENATOR ANDERSON: Craig Shutouts Panthers 4-0 as Sens Dominate Again

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

OTTAWA -- The fast-skating, hard-hitting Panthers who seemingly scored every time they took aim at the net in Saturday night's season opener must have stayed behind in Sunrise.

Yeah, what a difference 1,300 miles and about 78 degrees makes.

Playing in the deep chill of winter for the first time this young season, the Panthers didn't do much of anything as the Senators dominated all phases of the game to win their home opener 4-0 at Scotiabank Place.

"It's pretty hard when you chase your tail the whole game and that's what we did,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. "They dictated the whole pace of play. It was a very disappointing effort.''

Florida, which has lost 10 of the past 11 games to the Senators including six straight in Canada's capital city, boarded a charter bus soon afterward headed east toward Montreal.

The Panthers won all four meetings against the Canadiens last year for the first time in franchise history and face the Habs on Tuesday night.

"That was unacceptable right from the get go,'' captain Ed Jovanovski said. "Lets face it, we were outplayed and they wanted it more. We had no response throughout the game. We had a flash here and there. At least we have a game Tuesday.''

The Panthers looked about as bad in the opening 30 minutes of Monday's game as they did terrific during that same span Saturday against the visiting Hurricanes.

Florida trailed 2-0 after Kyle Turris scored in each of the first two periods --- and were real lucky it wasn't so much worse. The Panthers can thank Jose Theodore for that as Florida was outshot 18-4 in the first.

The Panthers started well enough and had three shots on Craig Anderson six minutes in.

Then the Panthers only took one more shot in the final 14 minutes of the period -- and that was a soft wrister from George Parros that Anderson spied all along.

Florida didn't take a real shot at Anderson for the equivalent of more than a full period as the Panthers went from 5:48 of the first until Tomas Kopecky ripped one at the former Florida goalie at 8:10 of the second.

The Panthers were still down 1-0 at that point but Ottawa took a two goal lead with 7:53 left in the second when Turris charged the net and redirected a slick pass from Guillaume Latendresse past a Florida goalie who never had a chance.

Florida went into the second intermission down 2-0 and being outshot 26-16 as Dineen completely reworked his lineup during the middle 20 minutes.

The Panthers' offensive units looked nothing like they had at the start of the night as Dineen mixed more things than a South Beach bartender on a Friday night.

Things were back to relative normal to start the third as Stephen Weiss lined up for the faceoff with Tomas Fleischmann and Scottie Upshall nearby. It didn't help much as Anderson turned back 15 shots in the third -- and 31 overall -- to get his 20th shutout of his career.

And how much does Anderson love playing the Panthers? A South Florida resident who spent the lockout working out at the team's complex in Coral Springs, Anderson is 8-0-1 against his former team. Monday's win was Anderson's second shutout against the Panthers.

"We haven't had good success in this building for whatever reason,'' Dineen said. "This has not been a good place for us, a good atmosphere for us. This was right up there on the ugly list.''

For Theodore, Monday goes into the books as a loss but he had as much to do with the Panthers losing the game as Ottawa's furry mascot -- it's a lion and not a politician, oddly enough -- did.

Theodore, who will get Tuesday night off as Scott Clemmensen makes his first start of 2013, was credited with 33 saves as he -- and the Panthers -- dropped to 1-1-0 in this young season.

Ottawa blew things out late in the game by scoring twice (Jim O'Brien, Jakob Silfverberg) in the final 2:25.

"We have to get back to what we do best,'' Jovanovski said, "and that's working hard, get the cute out of the game. We have been a resilient group. With so much hockey crammed into a short time, we don't have time to slide. We have to get right back into the win column.''

PANTHERS/SENS PREGAME NOTEBOOK: Versteeg on IR, Drew Shore Up .. And More!

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

OTTAWA -- The Panthers lost top winger Kris Versteeg with what's believed to be a minor groin injury Monday as he was put on injured reserve. Florida recalled Drew Shore from AHL San Antonio to replace him on the roster.

Florida is playing on back-to-back nights in Ottawa and Montreal with a third game coming at home Thursday against the Flyers.

"We want to make sure in case something happens since we're playing three games in four nights,'' general manager Dale Tallon said. "We're a little nicked up already. We need an extra body.''

Versteeg had hip surgery soon after the Panthers completed their season last year and rehabbed with the team at the beginning of the lockout.

Once medically cleared, Versteeg was then officially locked out like the rest of the NHL players and he returned to his hometown in Alberta. Tallon said Versteeg's injury wasn't related to the hip but wouldn't elaborate further.

Versteeg was hurt during the Panthers' first practice at the BB&T Center last Friday morning.

Because he was put on the IR list retroactive to that practice, Versteeg is eligible to return Friday. Versteeg tried to warm up at Saturday's morning skate but left that workout about 15 minutes into it.

The 21-year-old Shore is in his first professional season after scoring 50 goals in 123 games at the University of Denver the past three years. Shore has 10 goals and 30 points in 41 games for the Rampage this season.

"He had a good camp, impressed our veteran guys,'' Tallon said. "He can play center or wing. He's a really good kid, a good player.''

With Versteeg out, coach Kevin Dineen put Mike Santorelli up on Florida's first line with Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann.

On Monday, Scottie Upshall -- who scored Florida's fourth goal of the first period Saturday -- was up and Santorelli was down on the third line.

-- Both Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver were back in Florida's lineup on Monday after missing Saturday's opener.

Kulikov was out because he said he wasn't ready to go after an exhaustive travel schedule from Russia.

"I feel fantastic,'' Kulikov said. "I'm excited to play and am looking forward to the game.''

Weaver was out because of the league's treatment of concussions. Weaver was hit in the head during a scrimmage last week and wasn't allowed to play.

TUESDAY: PANTHERS AT CANADIENS
When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; Bell Center, Montreal
TV/Radio: FSNF; WQAM-560
The series: Florida leads 34-31-6
The game: The Panthers, who played at Ottawa Monday night, went 4-0 against the Canadiens for the first time in franchise history last season. Montreal, which finished in last place in the Eastern Conference last year, is off to an 0-1 start after losing to visiting Toronto on Saturday.

MONRING SKATE NOTES: Kulikov, Weaver Return ... Theodore v Senators

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

MONDAY'S MORNING SKATE

OTTAWA -- The Panthers are done with Monday's morning skate as the Senators gear up for their home opener after dropping the host Jets 4-1 on Saturday night.

The Florida blueline has gotten a little healthier with Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver jumping into the fray.

Brian Campbell-Filip Kuba and Ed Jovanovski-Keaton Ellerby are the other D combos.

Other stuff:

-- Jose Theodore in net going against South Florida resident Craig Anderson.

-- Scottie Upshall takes over the right side on Florida's top line with Kris Versteeg at home with what sounds like a groin problem.

Mike Santorelli has been dropped to the third line.

THE LINES

Fleischmann-Weiss-Upshall
Huberdeau-Mueller-Kovalev
Kopecky-Matthias-Santorelli
Skille-Smithson-Parros

SCRATCHED: Mike Caruso, Tyson Strachan

MONDAY: PANTHERS AT SENATORS
When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; Scotiabank Place, Ottawa
TV/Radio: FSNF; WQAM-560
The series: Sens lead 39-26-3
The game: Both teams are coming off lopsided wins with the Sens winning 4-1 at Winnipeg on Saturday; Florida topped visiting Carolina 5-1. Led by former Panthers goalie Craig Anderson, the Senators have been to the playoffs the past two seasons and have beaten Florida nine of the past 10 times. This is Florida's lone visit to Ottawa this season.