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Panthers 4, Senators 2

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- Defenseman Tom Gilbert and winger Tomas Kopecky scored goals 51 seconds apart late in the third period to give the Florida Panthers a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

The victory improved the Panthers' winning streak to five games, while the loss was the second in two nights for the Senators.

Gilbert's second of the season came at 17:28 of the third, with two seconds left on a penalty to Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The shot toward an open side was set up by a pass from winger Tomas Fleischmann.

Kopecky's goal at 18:19 was a short-handed effort off a 2-on-1 break.

Winger Jimmy Hayes and center Aleksander Barkov scored the other goals for Florida (14-17-5). Ottawa (14-17-6) received goals from winger Chris Neil and center Jason Spezza.

Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 31 saves, while Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen stopped 32 shots.

The Panthers tied the game with the only goal of the second period when Barkov, positioned low in the slot, deflected a pass from defenseman Tom Gilbert at the 17:11 mark.

For the second time in two nights, the Senators fell behind after giving up an early 2-on-1 break. Hayes was the triggerman, taking a pass from center Shawn Matthias and beating Anderson with a low shot to the stick side at 5:39 of the first.

It was Hayes' fourth of the season.

The Senators rebounded with two to take the lead before the first intermission. Neil scored his fifth when a rebound off Clemmensen bounced in off his skate at 9:17.

Spezza ended a personal 11-game slump with a power-play beauty at the 19:31 mark. After taking a hard pass from defenseman Erik Karlsson in the neutral zone, Spezza pulled the puck around defenseman Dylan Olsen, then tucked a shot over Clemmensen's left shoulder, just under the cross bar.

NOTES: Senators D Marc Methot returned from a four-game absence. For the first three, he was recovering from the flu, but coach Paul MacLean admitted Methot, generally regarded as Ottawa's best defender, was a healthy scratch for the team's loss to the Devils in New Jersey on Wednesday. ... The Panthers' winning streak is their longest since they won five in a row March 11-20, 2012. ... The Panthers' scratches were C Scott Gomez and D Mike Motteau. ... Florida G Scott Clemmensen made his fourth start in a row. He allowed a total of six goals in that span. ... Senators LW Cory Conacher was a healthy scratch for the second time this season. Joining him in the press box were D Patrick Wiercioch and D Eric Gryba. ... Senators D Jared Cowen blocked five shots. Ottawa topped Florida 17-10 in blocked shots.
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