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Game Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Florida Panthers

Wednesday February 15th, 2012

7:30 pm

Team 1200

7th East (29-22-8)  VS.  3rd East (27-17-11)

The Senators end their short week down south with a game against the FloridaPanthers. They took on the Tampa Bay Lightning last night in their only other game of the week. The exciting 4-0 win for the Sens featured a Craig Anderson shutout and a Jason Spezza hat trick. Spezza also had an assist, giving him points on all four goals scored.

The Sens have now earned points in three straight games, going 2-0-1 in that span, exactly what they needed to do coming off a season-worst seven game losing streak. Sens need now need to take these past few games a create a new streak by stringing some wins together. The Sens have a light week with only two games so winning both would go along ways. Already winning last night, the Sens just need to defeat Florida for that to happen. It won’t be easy though as they take on the leaders of the Southeast division. They’ve won three straight, the most recent a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday.

Sens have been on the better end of theese meetings thus far this season however. This is game three between the teams with Ottawa winning both of the first two by a score of 4-3, the most recent an overtime victory. The sens also won all four meetings last season, and have won 8 straight against the Panthers dating back to the 2009-2010 season. Hopefully they can keep that record going tonight.

Players To Watch:

Ottawa – Jason Spezza: Spezza is the key to the Senators offense and they need him to produce for the team to succeed. He’s had no trouble lately with 4 points last night and 10 during his current 4-game point streak.

** I would also keep an eye on Bobby Butler. After numerous trips between the first line, fourth line and press box, Butler finally seems to be playing up to his potential. He has 5 points in his last three games, and has been skating and playing much better in general. All his points come in the form of assist s however as he has yet to score during his most recent first line audition. Could tonight be the night?

Florida – Kris Versteeg: Versteeg leads the Panthers in points (48), goals (22) and game winning goals (5). He also has 3 points in his last two games. In 10 career games versus the Senators, Versteeg has nine points, including 2 from the last match-up between these teams.

The Sens have four days off after tonight while other teams try to catch up a bit to Ottawa in games played (they’ve played more games already than any other team in the league). It will help give a better picture of where Sens sit compared to say Toronto (currently 8th) or Washington (9th). And maybe even New Jersey (7th), who the Sens will be tied with if they win tonight, given New Jersey will have 4 games at hand.

Every game is so important right now and the Sens really need to win this one. The Sens have been playing much better in their last couple games compared to how they played during the losing streak and need to continue that tonight at the BankAtlantic Center.

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