SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators in just about every way they could to eliminate them from playoff contention.
Sasha Barkov started Florida’s scoring explosion with two goals of his own while Alex Lyon held things down on his own end with 56 saves in an 7-2 win on Thursday night.
Lyon set the franchise record for saves in a regulation game, eclipsing Craig Anderson’s 53 saves in a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders..
He was one save short of tying Roberto Luongo’s 57 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 27, 2002.
The Panthers extended a five-game winning streak to stay in control of their own destiny in the Eastern Conference wild card race.
With the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins both winning their games on Thursday night, Florida remains in a tie with New York for the first wild card and one point ahead of Pittsburgh for a playoff spot.
The Panthers ended the night with three power play goals, a shorthanded goal and 78 penalty minutes in a game that turned real chippy, real fast.
Both teams combined for 166 by the end of the night.
Ottawa became frustrated quickly after Florida built a 3-0 lead behind a Brandon Montour and a pair of goals from Barkov and decided to take matters into their own hands.
Brady Tkachuk ran Alex Lyon and it set the game on fire.
Claude Giroux scored 30 seconds after Tkachuk’s first run-in with Lyon went uncalled by the referees and it ignited the Panthers from there.
Sam Reinhart scored the first of four unanswered goals to end the second after deflecting a shot by Montour on the power play.
He became the third Florida player to hit the 30-goal mark in the process.
Eetu Luostarinen, Nick Cousins and Gus Forsling each scored to essentially destroy any chance Ottawa had at coming back in the game.
Lyon secured the win — and the record — with 16 saves in the third period.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Panthers 1, Senators 0 (7:59, 1st): Brandon Montour sends a squeaker past Leevi Merilainen to give the Panthers the early lead.
- Panthers 2, Senators 0 (14:03, 1st, PPG): Sasha Barkov beats Merilainen with a wide-angle wrist shot that sneaks in top corner off the cross bar.
- Panthers 3, Senators 0 (1:24, 2nd, SHG): Barkov fired off a wrist shot on the rush that Merilainen did not see coming. He was replaced by Mads Søgaard.
- Panthers 3, Senators 1 (4:25, 2nd): Claude Giroux fired a loose puck from the slot past Alex Lyon.
- Panthers 4, Senators 1 (7:48, 2nd, PPG): Sam Reinhart tipped in a Montour shot on the power play.
- Panthers 5, Senators 1 (9:25, 2nd, PPG): Eetu Luostarinen slid home the rebound of an Aaron Ekblad shot on the power play.
- Panthers 6, Senators 1 (15:48, 2nd): Nick Cousins beat Søgaard five-hole on the breakaway straight out of the penaly box.
- Panthers 7, Senators 1 (17:00, 2nd): Gus Forsling scored with a blast of a slap shot from the point.
- Panthers 7, Senators 2 (16:18, 3rd): Ridly Greig gets the second of the night for Ottawa.
COLBY’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Alex Lyon, Florida
2. Sasha Barkov, Florida
3. Brandon Montour, Florida
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS
- When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Panthers won 2-1 (d. Capitals 4-2 in first round)
- This season (Florida leads 2-0): Panthers 5, Capitals 2 (Nov. 15); Panthers 6, Capitals 3 (Feb. 16)
- All-time regular season series: Washington leads 67-45-12, 9 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Monday, Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida, 7 p.m.