Florida 4, Ottawa 3

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OTTAWA (TICKER) —Rookie defenseman Ivan Majesky was the unlikely hero in an improbable comeback for the Florida Panthers.

Majesky scored his third goal of the season with 25 seconds left as the Panthers rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period for a 4-3 victory over the league-leading Ottawa Senators.

The loss snapped an eight-game home unbeaten streak for the Senators, who squandered a three-goal third-period lead Wednesday before pulling out a pivotal 5-3 victory at New Jersey.

“We got away with it last night but not tonight,” Senators coach Jacques Martin said. “We have to be more disciplined.”

Third-line center Shaun Van Allen matched a career high with four assists in the win over the Devils and staked the Senators to a 3-1 lead in this one with a pair of goals 39 seconds apart in the third period.

But Ottawa, which leads Dallas by two points in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy, failed to hold on.

“Scheduling was in our favor with them playing Wednesday, and we were fortunate to take advantage of it,” Panthers coach Mike Keenan said. “It was a huge win for us. For any team to come in here, it would be a huge win.”

Jeff Toms started the comeback with a goal at 7:35, just 22 seconds after Van Allen’s second of the game.

Florida tied it when All-Star Olli Jokinen skated past defenseman Karel Rachunek down the left side, swept behind the net and passed in front to Marcus Nilson, who rammed his own rebound through the pads of goaltender Martin Prusek with 4:46 remaining.

Jokinen, who extended his points streak to a career-high seven games, also set up the winner when he skated down the right side to attract two defenders and dropped a pass for Majesky.

The 26-year-old Slovakian blasted a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past Prusek’s glove side to hand the Senators their first regulation home loss since December 16.

“Olli made a good play, so I just tried to hit the net,” Majesky said. “The defense was just standing at the side, so I just shot it at his glove and it went in.”

Ironically, Majesky’s first NHL goal came against the Senators on January 22.

“I was glad to see some other people get some goals tonight,” Keenan said. “Toms’ goal was big for us as well as Nilson and certainly Majesky. He has a pretty good shot and won it for us.”

The Panthers had lost a pair of one-goal games to Ottawa this season and goaltender Roberto Luongo was 0-5-1 lifetime vs. the Senators.

“The guys showed some character tonight and didn’t give up,” said Luongo, who made 28 saves. “We came back and won the game. Every game is big for us right now and we’ll take these two points and go to Philly now and see if we can get a win out of there.”

Luongo brought a road shutout streak of 155 minutes, 21 seconds following Tuesday’s 3-0 victory at Montreal. He extended it to 195:05 before Todd White snapped a scoreless tie with his 21st with just 16 seconds left in the second period.

Luongo could only blame himself for the goal, miscommunicating with defenseman Andrew Ference. Luongo went to play the puck behind the net and nudged it toward defenseman Brad Ference, who backed off. Rookie Josh Langfeld pounced on the puck to the left of the net and passed to Daniel Alfredsson.

The Senators’ captain centered to White, who has four goals and four assists in his last nine games.

Ottawa appeared listless after Wednesday’s emotional win and was outshot, 17-14, through two periods.

Florida broke through 4:09 into the third period after Prusek left a long rebound. Defenseman Andreas Lilja fired a slap shot from just inside the blue line and Matt Cullen put in the rebound.

Van Allen gave Ottawa the lead with a power-play goal at 6:34, redirecting defenseman Wade Redden’s point shot.

His second goal came 39 seconds later after a brilliant effort by Alfredsson, who skated down the left side, darted to the middle and fired a shot that Luongo stopped. The goalie also denied Peter Schaefer on the rebound, but Van Allen streaked in and scored.

It was the 12th goal for Van Allen, eclipsing his previous career high set in 1997-98.

“That game was not a killer. We are still in first place,” Van Allen said. “We would love to have it back, but we will just have to come back next game. We are too good of a team to let one game get to us.”

Ottawa had little time to enjoy its two-goal lead. Just 22 seconds later, Stephane Matteau and Ivan Novoseltsev worked the puck behind the net with aggressive forechecks. Matteau centered to Toms, who beat Prusek from the lower right faceoff circle for just his second goal of the season.

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Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Roberto Luongo Fla 31 28
Martin Prusek Cls 27 23