Coming off a disappointing and devastating loss to the New Jersey Devils, the Ottawa Senators must brush themselves off in a hurry as they return home to face a team on a roll.
7:30 PM, Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
This is the third meeting of the season between the Panthers and Senators. The Senators won both previous contests, by a 3-2 score in Ottawa followed up by a 4-2 win in the sunshine state.
The Panthers did the Senators a favor on Tuesday by downing the Maple Leafs by a score of 3-1, while the Senators looked lacklustre in a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Erik Gudbranson, FLA – The Ottawa native has been rugged this season, near the top 10 in penalty minutes with 70. The offense is still coming around, but he is just one point off his career high set two season ago of 8 points in 72 games. He currently has 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points.
Marc Methot, OTT – Weight loss or not from the recent flu virus he missed 3 games for, if Methot is not in the lineup there is something more serious wrong. His absence was felt in the loss to New Jersey and his steadying influence on Erik Karlsson was sorely missed.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Ambush – The Panthers are on a bit of a roll, having won 4 in a row. The last two wins (over Montreal and Toronto) came when they were waiting in the city while their opponent played the night before on the road. That is the situation the Senators are in tonight.
2. Space – A loss for the Senators not only hurts their chances to get closer, or at least keep pace with, the Maple Leafs, but it also will lift Florida into the chance. Ottawa leads the Panthers by just 3 points, and that gap closing will not help the Senators.
3. Meetings – The Senators had a closed door meeting after the game last night. Unlike the players only one earlier in the season, the coaching staff was involved in this one. Would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that one, but we will see how the club reacts tonight.