The Panthers got the start they were hoping for Tuesday night although their two early power play goals didn't hold up for long.
Ottawa, which has struggled almost as badly as Florida this year, scored four unanswered goals to beat the Panthers 4-2 in front of a friends-and-family gathering at BB&T Center.
Florida has lost three straight and five of the past six.
"This is frustrating. It's not fun,'' said defenseman Brian Campbell, whose team led 2-0 less than nine minutes into the game.
"I feel like we're close but we keep making major mistakes that cost us. They don't seem to leave our game.''
Florida's power play got things going early with Jonathan Huberdeau scoring the opening goal on a 5-on-3 chance by following up Tomas Fleischmann rebound. Fleischmann's assist marked his first point in 10 games.
Campbell made it 2-0 on the extended power play chance by roofing a shot past former Florida goalie Craig Anderson.
Ottawa, which took 21 shots in the opening period, closed the first with goals from Joe Corvo and Erik Condra. Corvo's goal was a 55-foot wrister from just inside the blue line, the puck zipping over Tim Thomas' right shoulder.
Ottawa spent much of the second on the power play, cashing in late in the period when another long shot from Corvo hit teammate Colin Greening and bounced over Thomas' head.
Greening's goal served as the game-winner as Bobby Ryan tacked on the fourth goal with 8:08 left to put the Panthers away.
"We had a great start then got into penalty trouble,'' said Scottie Upshall, who was flagged for three of Florida's eight infractions. "I thought our penalty kill did a great job but you can't build momentum when you are killing and not creating offense. My two penalties in the offensive zone were unacceptable. I can't be doing that.''
-- Tuesday's announced attendance of 10,074 was the lowest in six seasons. The Panthers announced a crowd of 10,063 on Halloween night in 2008 against the Hurricanes.
-- Florida is 0-2 against the Sens this year and just 3-13-1 against Ottawa since the start of the 2009-10 season.