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Panthers 2, Senators 1

The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goalie Craig Anderson has dominated the Panthers over the years, but not Sunday night, when Florida defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 at the BB&T Center.

Anderson, who had been out since he hurt his ankle Feb. 21 against the Rangers -- a total of 19 games missed -- entered Sunday 9-0-1 with a 1.59 goals-against average in his past 10 starts against Florida, including two shutouts.

Entering Sunday, Anderson also led all NHL goalies in GAA (1.49) and save percentage (.952).

But on Sunday night, Anderson gave up a 1-0 lead, and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov got a power-play goal with 9:14 left in the game.

Tomas Kopecky set up the play by drawing a holding call on Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar. With 44 seconds left on the power play -- the Panthers had passed the puck repeatedly before shooting -- Kulikov's wrist shot from beyond the left circle finally got past Anderson.

The assists went to Brian Campbell and rookie Jonathan Huberdeau.

Then, with 4:48 left in the game, the Panthers killed a two-minute hooking penalty on Peter Mueller. The Panthers, last in the NHL on the penalty kill this year, went 5 for 5 on Sunday.

With the loss, Ottawa (44 points) remains sixth in the fight for one of eight Eastern Conference playoff spots. But the Senators, who have lost four in a row, have left themselves vulnerable to getting passed by teams such as the New York Rangers, each with 42 points.

The Panthers (32 points) are still in last place in the conference and a long shot to make the postseason. But they have won four of their past five games.

With 12:26 elapsed in the first period, the Senators snapped a scoreless tie when Jakob Silfverberg made a slick interior pass from right to left, and rookie Cory Conacher put the puck in past an out-of-position Scott Clemmensen.

It was Conacher's 10th goal of the season and his first since being acquired last week from Tampa Bay.

Clemmensen, the Panthers' backup goalie, made his first start in seven games.

The Panthers tied the score 68 seconds into the second period when Marcel Goc got a tip-in for his fifth goal of the year. The assists went to Tomas Fleischmann and Kopecky.

NOTES: The Senators entered Sunday having won 11 of their past 12 games against the Panthers, including the first two this year. ... Overall, though, the Senators have been slumping, losing four straight in regulation for the first time all year. ... Center Nick Bjugstad, the Panthers' No. 1 selection in 2010 (19th pick overall) who made his NHL debut on Saturday, is the nephew of Scott Bjugstad, who played in the NHL for Minnesota from 1983 to 1993. ... Saturday in his debut against the Capitals, Bjugstad played 13 minutes, made three hits, took one shot and was even in his plus-minus rating. The former University of Minnesota star also won 45 percent of his face-offs. ... Senators' rookie Cory Conacher, who made his debut with the team on Friday after being acquired from Tampa Bay, is second in points this season among NHL rookies with 24. He entered Sunday just two points behind the leader, Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau. ... Panthers' winger Jack Skille returned Saturday from an upper-body injury that had kept him out since March 23. ... Panthers' rookie forward Drew Shore is still out due to a wrist injury. ... Up next, the Panthers will play at Winnipeg on Thursday. ... The Senators continue their season-long seven-game road trip with a visit to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
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