SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers found out the hard way to not take the Ottawa Senators lightly during their last meeting with them in December.
In that previous meeting, Ottawa won by six goals.
The Senators did not come close to putting up that kind of fight — when it comes to the hockey action, that is — on Thursday night.
With the Panthers riding a three-game losing streak, they took the Senators seriously despite their record and snapped their losing skid with a 3-0 win on Star Wars Night at FLA Live Arena.
Mason Marchment mentioned pregame that getting off to a hot start would be crucial to winning the game — and Florida did exactly that.
The Panthers held all of the momentum early on, leading 8-0 in shots at the 8:07 mark in the first period.
That was when Anton Lundell sent the Panthers to their first power play of the game after drawing a four-minute double-minor on a high-stick from Erik Brannstrom.
Marchment cashed in the first half of the double-minor after literally sliding in on a puck to give Florida a 1-0 lead 10:04 into the game.
The Senators challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but it was ruled that Ottawa defenseman Nick Holden drove Marchment into Anton Forsberg, causing the two to make contact.
It was a good goal.
That put the Panthers on a two-minute 5-on-3, combining a bench minor for an unsuccessful challenge and the second half of Brannstrom’s double-minor.
Ottawa managed to survive and kill off the extended 5-on-3.
At that point, the Panthers were the ones dominating offensively, leading 16-3 in shots after their string of power plays was over.
They got their fourth power play chance of the first period when Artem Zub took a hooking penalty with 5:26 to go, but Ottawa was able to survive yet again.
The Panthers held offensive zone possession and had a couple of good chances to score, but the Senators held them to 1-4 on the power play in the opening period.
Ottawa then got their turn on the power play when Carter Verhaeghe took a high-sticking penalty with 2:47 to go, but Florida was able to kill that penalty off.
By the end of the first period, Florida led 25-7 in shots, 11-2 in scoring chances, and 5-1 in high-danger chances.
The second period was a similar story, with the Panthers outshooting Ottawa 3-0 and holding a 4-0 lead in scoring chances seven-and-a-half minutes into the frame.
Ryan Lomberg then drew a cross-checking penalty from Ottawa’s Alex Formenton, sending the Cats to their fifth power play of the game.
While the Panthers registered four shots on goal and a few quality scoring chances, Forsberg came up with a couple of huge saves to kill off the penalty for Ottawa.
At the halfway mark of the game, he had 31 saves on 32 shots.
Florida went on their sixth power play of the game after Eetu Luostarinen drew a tripping penalty from Collin White with 3:08 remaining in the second period.
It proved to be their fifth-straight unsuccessful power play, with the Panthers failing to sustain offensive zone possession on that try.
Alas, Florida exited the second period with their 1-0 lead intact, leading 12-3 in shots during the frame and 37-10 in shots overall.
The Panthers went right back out on the power play 1:13 into the third after Anthony Duclair drew a cross-checking penalty from Thomas Chabot.
Patric Hornqvist ended the power play goal drought, picking up his second point of the night off of a rebound to make it a 2-0 game 3:09 into the third period.
Lomberg tapped in a loose rebound of a Marchment shot 12 seconds later to give the Panthers a three-goal lead.
Ottawa got a chance to get back into the game when Brandon Montour took a tripping penalty 5:35 into the third period.
Florida was able to kill it off, only allowing one shot on goal.
The Senators got another chance on the power with 11:15 to go in the third period when Carter Verhaeghe took a holding penalty to send them to their third power play of the game.
The Panthers held strong again, moving to 3-3 on the penalty kill on the night.
A scrum ensued after Hornqvist took a late hit from Brady Tkachuk with around 8:30 to go in the third period.
Florida ended up with a power play afterward, with Tkachuk taking an extra minor penalty for roughing after the scrum was over.
While they did not score, they went right back to the power play with 6:07 to go after Lomberg was interfered with by Josh Brown.
Lomberg proceeded to fight Brown and got the crowd pumped up with his patented hair flip and wave to the fans on his way to the locker room tunnel.
Sergei Bobrovsky ended up with his second shutout of the season and third since joining the Panthers in 2019 with 18 saves. While that does not sound like a lot, he kept the Panthers in this game with a number of big saves early — including three shorthanded shots from the Senators in the first period.
Forsberg was terrific in net and really did keep the Senators from being blown out of the arena as he ended with 45 saves.
Florida ended the night 2-for-9 on the power play.
COLBY’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Patric Hornqvist, Florida
2. Mason Marchment, Florida
3. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida