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Senators 3, Panthers 2

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- It was a new look but the same old result for the Florida Panthers Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire Centre.

Ottawa Senators second string goalie Robin Lehner won his third game in a row, stopping 26 shots to beat the Panthers 3-2 and spoil the NHL debut of Panthers coach Peter Horachek.

The loss was the eighth in a row for the Panthers, who gave Horachek the job when they fired Kevin Dineen on Friday.

The Senators improved to 7-6-4 with the victory, while Florida is now 3-10-4.

The Panthers were unable to capitalize on a two-man advantage power play that lasted 1:17 early in the third, but did cut their deficit to one goal when center Marcel Goc beat Lehner with a slap shot from the top of the left wing faceoff circle with just under 10 minutes to play.

That, however, was as close as the visitors would get.

The Senators had 32 shots on Panthers goalie Tim Thomas, whose personal winning streak at Canadian Tire was stopped at nine games.

Senators winger Clarke MacArthur scored the only goal of the second period with his team enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage. It was MacArthur's third goal of the season, all of them coming in Ottawa's last five games.

The Senators struck early in the first period when center Kyle Turris scored his fourth goal of the season at the 1:45 mark on a sharp angle shot after Thomas had turned back winger Bobby Ryan on a partial break. Just 19 seconds later, Senators winger Mika Zibanejad also scored his fourth to make it 2-0, banking a shot from behind the goal line off Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

Florida center Nick Bjugstad got one back two minutes after that, beating Karlsson to a puck in the corner then cutting out front to stuff a shot past Lehner. The goal was Bjugstad's second of the season.

The teams were tied 11-11 on the shots clock after one.

The Senators' next game is Tuesday, when they play host to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Panthers are in action again Sunday, when they play the last of a three-game road trip at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

NOTES: Panthers G Tim Thomas returned from a groin injury that kept him on the shelf for six games to play in one of his favorite NHL rinks. Thomas, who entered the day with a 23-9-2 all-time record vs. the Senators, was riding a nine-game winning streak at Canadian Tire Centre. Over his career, he was 11-4-1 in Ottawa, with three shutouts. ... Senators G Craig Anderson returned to the lineup after missing two games with a stiff neck, but coach Paul MacLean left him on the bench as a backup to Robin Lehner, who stopped 65 of 67 shots and won both games in Anderson's absence. In announcing his decision, MacLean made sure to point out that Anderson, a former Panther, is still No. 1 on Ottawa's depth chart. ... Panthers C Jesse Winchester served the first of a three-game suspension for elbowing Bruins C Chris Kelly on Thursday. Winchester, a former Senator, is from Long Sault, Ontario, which is just outside of Ottawa. About 30 friends and family were in attendance to watch him play. ... Senators RW Chris Neil, the team's all time penalty minutes leader, was playing with a visor for the first time in his NHL career. Neil needed eight stitches around his eye to close a cut suffered Thursday, when Senators D Erik Karlsson hit him with a pass. ... Senators D Patrick Wiercioch was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games as a healthy scratch. All told, the former second-round pick has been scratched from four games this season. ... Senators D Joe Corvo was scratched for a fifth consecutive game and ninth time this season.
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