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Florida Panthers GameDay

New Look, Old Result: Florida Panthers 4, Ottawa Senators 0

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There was plenty of rest for the weary when it came to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in Ottawa.

Florida kept a large swath of top players — Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Claude Giroux, MacKenzie Weegar and Gus Forsling — out of their penultimate regular season game.

But the Panthers still has Sam Reinhart and Spencer Knight and that was plenty.

Florida, which came into the night with losses in its previous two games, got a goal from Reinhart six minutes into the game and 27 saves from Knight as it beat the Senators 4-0.

The Panthers, now 39-0-1 when leading after two periods, were able to end up clinching the NHL Presidents’ Trophy as well.

By virtue of winning on Thursday and Colorado losing in a shootout to Nashville early Friday morning, the Panthers will end up with the most points in the NHL this season.

The Panthers visit Montreal in their final regular season game Friday.

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Florida brought up three players from AHL Charlotte and all of them (Aleksi Heponiemi, Matt Kiersted and Cole Schwindt) played; Lucas Carlsson, and Maxim Mamin also returned to the lineup.

The Panthers got their initial goal from two regulars, however, as Sam Bennett lifted the puck in the corner along the halfwall from Drake Batherson and got it to Reinhart in front of the net.

He put it past Filip Gustavsson to make it 1-0.

Florida tried to add to that lead in the second but having a 5-on-3 power play advantage for almost a minute did not do it. The Panthers took that 1-0 lead into the third period.

Things certainly opened up in the third.

Bennett gave Knight and the Panthers a little breathing room 1:12 into the period when he followed up a fat rebound from a Anthony Duclair shot.

Just 20 seconds later, Eetu Luostarinen picked off the puck in the neutral zone and led a 2-on-1 charge with Carter Verhaeghe — who scored top shelf.

Florida got to their four-goal average with 6:52 remaining when Verhaeghe picked up his second of the night by firing off a pass from Mamin in front of the net.

Knight picked up his second NHL shutout; he got his first last month in Anaheim.

GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1. Spencer Knight, Florida

2. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida

3. Sam Bennett, Florida

PANTHERS ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT MONTREAL CANADIENS 

END OF THE REGULAR SEASON

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