Panthers 3, Senators 2

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OTTAWA (AP)—Byron Ritchie picked the right time to end his long streak without a goal.

Ritchie scored for the first time in over a year and Steve Shields made 30 saves as the Florida Panthers ended Ottawa’s four-game winning streak with a 3-2 win against the Senators on Thursday night.

Ritchie, who hadn’t scored since April 12, 2002, ended a 36-game drought with an unassisted goal 7:16 into the third period.

“It’s quite a relief,” Ritchie said. “I had a chance, I think it was in the first period, and I didn’t get a good shot off so I just had it in my mind just to get a good shot off. I threw it at the net and fortunately it went in.”

Florida defenseman Mike Van Ryn tied it earlier in the period with a power-play goal.

Olli Jokinen scored a man-advantage goal in the first for the Panthers, who lost 5-1 in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

“We had a big meeting this morning and basically asked what every guy could bring to the table,” Jokinen said. “Tonight was a good 20-guy effort and that’s what we need every single night, the guys working hard. When you work hard, it’s going to pay off sooner or later.”

Marian Hossa and Vaclav Varada scored for Ottawa, which hadn’t played since a 6-2 win at Montreal last Saturday.

“You see that a lot. You try to avoid it, you talk about avoiding it— having those days off and coming out flat,” Senators defenseman Chris Phillips said. “It’s happened to a lot of teams and it’s something we definitely didn’t want to do. Unfortunately it wasn’t our best effort and we came out short.”

Shields, acquired from Boston on Oct. 5, made his second start in three games. He stopped 22 of 25 shots Wednesday after he replaced Roberto Luongo.

“I think we might have caught them a little offguard tonight,” Shields said. “They weren’t skating as well as they usually do, but I think we had a lot to do with that. The guys showed up and got in front of them and did what we had to do to slow them down and I think that was a big difference in the game.”

Varada broke a 1-1 tie 1:14 into the third when he put Bryan Smolinski’s rebound past Shields after Panthers forward Lee Goren turned over the puck in Florida’s zone.

Van Ryn scored his third goal just 1:19 later when he took advantage of Ottawa defenseman Zdeno Chara’s turnover and beat goalie Patrick Lalime at 2:33.

“I told (Van Ryn) as soon as he scored that he saved me,” said Goren, recalled from San Antonio of the AHL earlier in the day.

The Panthers took their first lead at 7:16 when Ritchie scored with a wrist shot from a sharp angle.

Goren assisted on Jokinen’s goal 11:43 into the first in his Panthers debut.

Hossa scored his fifth just five seconds into Ottawa’s second power play. Radek Bonk won a faceoff to the left of Shields and kicked the puck forward before passing ahead to Hossa, who drove to the net and beat Shields for his first power-play goal of the season.

Lalime stopped Jokinen’s shot on a breakaway with less than four minutesremaining in the second.


Ritchie had no goals and three assists in 30 games with the Panthers last season. … Luongo has played just 9:08 over the last three games after starting Florida’s first eight games. … Goren, signed as an unrestricted free agent in July, had four goals and one assist in 35 games with Boston in the 2000-01 and 2002-03 seasons. … Senators D Curtis Leschyshyn returned after missing two games because of stiffness in his back. D Julien Vauclair, recalled from Binghamton of the AHL for the second time in five days, skated in thewarmup but didn’t dress for the game.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
B. Ritchie B. Ritchie
Florida Panthers
Scored at 7:16 of 3rd


Goalie Team Shot Save
Patrick Lalime Buf 22 19