The Florida Panthers have had trouble scoring the past week. A trip to Ottawa may not be much of a help.
Struggling to find the back of the net despite generating plenty of opportunities, the Panthers look to end their road woes against the Senators when the teams meet at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night.
Florida (2-3-0) has been held to two goals or less in each of its last three games, including Monday’s 3-1 defeat at Montreal.
“We have to have more traffic, more of a killer instinct and hunt down rebounds,” Panthers coach Peter DeBoer told the team’s official Web site. “We have to stand in there and take a shot to score a goal. We’re a little outside and a little on the perimeter and we have to have that killer instinct around the net.”
DeBoer, though, said he doesn’t feel a need to shuffle his lines, with Florida averaging 34.0 shots per game.
Visiting Ottawa rarely results in a good offensive showing for the Panthers.
The Senators (2-2-1) have won four straight home games against the Panthers, and are 13-3-1 against them there since the start of the 1999-00 season. Florida has averaged 2.06 goals during that span.
Overall, Ottawa is 21-5-1 against the Panthers since losing the previous two meetings. The Senators won last season’s series 3-1-0.
Ottawa, though, has had its own problems on offense, scoring two goals in two of its last three games.
Following a 4-2 loss to Boston on Saturday night, Senators coach Craig Hartsburg talked about playing hard with the puck.
“You’ve got to be able to play with the puck to create offense and to compete for loose pucks,” Hartsburg said.
Ottawa was coming off its best offensive game of the season, a 6-3 victory over Phoenix on Friday night, but managed only 23 shots versus the Bruins.
Unlike DeBoer, Hartsburg has decided to change up his lines, moving Mike Fisher between captain Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley on the No. 1 unit. Jason Spezza, meanwhile, will add experience on a line with second-year forward Nick Foligno and rookie Jesse Winchester.
“A guy like Jason, we need to put more responsibility on him,” Hartsburg said. “He’s a really good player in this league and we think he can be a good player on another line with other players. We do it with Alfredsson for the same reason, to try to create another (scoring) line and we think Jason should be able to do that for us.”
Spezza is second on the team with three goals after matching a career high with 34 last season. He has four goals and eight assists in his last nine games against Florida, helping Ottawa go 7-1-1 in that span.
Alfredsson, playing his second game since returning from knee surgery, scored against Boston for his first goal of the season. The veteran winger has 14 goals and 16 assists in his last 29 games against the Panthers.
Alfredsson and Ottawa will be facing Florida goaltender Craig Anderson, with Tomas Vokoun set to get the night off. This will be the first start of the season for Anderson, who gave up two goals in 20 minutes in a 6-2 loss to Minnesota on Thursday night in his only appearance so far.
Anderson is 0-1-0 with a 2.25 goals-against average in two games - one start - against Ottawa.