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Panthers-Senators Preview

AP - Sports

The Florida Panthers seek progress and consistency.

They're getting a great deal of both of late.

Enjoying their best stretch of the season by far, the Panthers look to beat the Ottawa Senators on the road for the first time in nearly four years Thursday night.

Florida (13-17-5) has won four straight and six of its last seven games, matching its win total over the previous 27 after opening the season with a win at Dallas on Oct. 3.

The Panthers, who haven't won five in a row since March 11-20, 2012, kept the current run going with a 3-1 victory at Toronto on Tuesday, two days after opening this four-game road trip with a 2-1 win at Montreal.

"We're looking for progress," coach Peter Horachek said. "We're looking for consistency in our play."

They're getting it practically across the board offensively, as 11 players have at least one goal over the past seven games while six more have managed at least an assist.

Dylan Olsen has been a big surprise, leading the team with seven points over that stretch. The defenseman had one point over the previous four games after being recalled from San Antonio of the AHL.

The 28th overall pick in the 2009 draft by Chicago, Olsen managed one point in 28 games with the Blackhawks in 2011-12 before spending all of last season in the minors.

Scott Clemmensen may get a fourth consecutive start in net after compiling a 1.30 goals-against average while winning the last three. His performance against the Maple Leafs was his best yet, making a season-high 28 saves.

Clemmensen, though, has lost his last two games at Ottawa (14-16-6), giving up nine goals on 60 shots.

The Panthers have lost seven in a row at Canadian Tire Centre, including a 3-2 defeat Nov. 9. They lost 4-2 at home to the Senators on Dec. 3, the game immediately prior to Florida's recent surge.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored in that meeting, and he's expected to return Thursday. The reigning Calder Trophy winner has missed the last two games with a foot injury, but Horachek claimed that he could have played Tuesday.

With Huberdeau potentially back and the Senators struggling, the Panthers are poised to get their first win in Ottawa since Jan. 9, 2010.

The Senators are growing frustrated on a 3-3-2 stretch, and Wednesday's 5-2 loss at New Jersey was enough for them to call for a closed-door meeting.

"Totally frustrated with our lack to string together another win," captain Jason Spezza said. "We gave up a short-handed goal. Your power play is supposed to gain momentum for you. We gave up another pretty quick. It's tough to come back on the road, especially against a team like New Jersey."

Bobby Ryan was held without a point by the Devils after collecting six over the previous five games. The left wing leads the team with 16 goals, scoring one against the Panthers earlier this month.

Ryan has one point in each of his past four meetings with Florida, while defenseman Erik Karlsson has seven points over his last six home matchups.

With Robin Lehner starting in New Jersey, Craig Anderson is likely to get another shot at his former team Thursday. Anderson is 10-1-1 with a 1.66 GAA in his last 12 starts against Florida.

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