Senators-Panthers Preview

The Associated Press

Beating the Florida Panthers last month put the Ottawa Senators on a season-high three-game winning streak.

They've only managed to match that victory total since.

In search of improvement and consistency, the Senators are hoping to continue their dominance of the struggling Panthers on Tuesday night.

Ottawa (10-13-4) has won 12 of the past 14 meetings with Florida (7-15-5), including a 3-2 home win on Nov. 9.

The Senators, though, have dropped seven of 10 games since, losing 4-2 to Detroit on Sunday in former captain Daniel Alfredsson's return to Ottawa. However, they were more concerned with finding answers to their recent struggles after a fourth straight home loss.

"At the end of the day we didn't do enough to win," coach Paul MacLean said. "Is that playing harder? Is that work ethic? Is that being smarter? It's all of the above, I would say. But we can just categorize it I guess under one term is that we need to play harder."

The Senators certainly need to improve on the power play, which has come up empty on seven chances while losing the last two games. The unit had been 9 for 30 over the previous six.

"We couldn't really establish anything off the entries, and that's why we couldn't really get set up," defenseman Erik Karlsson said after the power play went 0 for 4 against the Red Wings. "We just had to chase the puck the whole time."

Karlsson, though, continues to be a rare bright spot for Ottawa, leading all defensemen with 27 points. He's collected nine over the past nine games, including one Sunday.

He has 12 points in 13 career meetings with the Panthers, getting four goals and one assist in six road matchups.

Clarke MacArthur has one goal in each of his last three meetings with Florida, including the game-winning tally last month. The left wing enters this matchup with five goals and three assists in seven games.

The Panthers have dropped four of five while giving up an average of 3.8 goals.

Those defensive issues were evident in Saturday's 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh, as Florida failed to capitalize on a 40-22 shot advantage.

"We're shooting ourselves in the foot, myself included," said Tim Thomas, who was pulled after giving up four goals on 13 shots.

Thomas has started each of the last five games, compiling a 3.18 goals-against average. He's surrendered eight goals on 34 shots while losing the last two contests.

It's unclear if the two-time Vezina Trophy winner will be back in net, but he has a 1.81 GAA and two shutouts while winning seven of his last 10 meetings with the Senators. He made 29 saves against them last month.

Scott Clemmensen, though, is 1-3-1 with a 3.92 GAA over his last five meetings with Ottawa.

Scottie Upshall has four goals and five assists in nine games, and has scored goals in each of the last two. The veteran right wing, however, doesn't have a goal in his last 10 games against the Senators, and no points in the last seven.

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