When the Ottawa Senators take the ice against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, their playoff hopes have not been extinguished.
Close, but not yet.
As the Panthers try to continue their run to the postseason, they will welcome in the last team to beat them.
Last Monday night, it looked like Florida’s season was over when Ottawa beat the Panthers 5-2.
Since then, the Panthers have won four straight games. They have gone from DOA to WC1 — as in holding the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Things have not gone as well for the Senators.
After beating the Flyers in overtime, Ottawa comes to South Florida with losses (0-1-2) in its past three games.
Still, they have not been eliminated just yet.
The Sens are six points behind the Panthers and Islanders for the final playoff spots with four games left. They need a lot of help.
“These guys need this win to get to the playoffs and we need this win to stay alive,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said according to the Ottawa Sun.
“With as small a hope as we have, with all the injuries we have, not a single guy has taken his foot off the gas.
“I would suspect that we’re going to give them everything we have tomorrow.”
The Panthers are expecting another big challenge from Brady Tkachuk and the Senators on Thursday night.
“We need to play like we have the past few games,” Radko Gudas said. “We have been in their face, not giving up a lot of space out there. We need to stay out of the box; they scored a couple power play goals on us last time so we want to eliminate that as much as possible.
“Hopefully Chucky gives his brother a big meal so he is not moving as much tomorrow.’’
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Panthers found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-on-3 power play as Anton Lundell and Aaron Ekblad sat in the penalty box.
Fortunately for the Panthers, Buffalo only had this three-skater advantage for 12.2 seconds. Still, it was a pretty harrowing situation for a team with so much on the line. Well, teams. Plural.
- Tuesday night’s matchup certainly felt like a postseason game. The Panthers got a win they really needed. And they’ll need to keep winning.
- Anthony Duclair has not been able to find the back of the net since he scored that empty net goal upon his return. He has been struggling offensively, but Duclair is doing a lot of good things for the Panthersas well.
- The boys from Panther Pourri are back as they discuss the team coming back from the dead. Check out the podcast RIGHT HERE
- The Panthers will likely be without Sergei Bobrovsky and Sam Bennett against the Sens tonight — full updates on their injury and illness right here.
- Video from Paul Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk, Anton Lundell, Brandon Montour and Alex Lyon following the win against the Sabres is up on the FHN YouTube Channel. Maurice and Gudas also spoke following Wednesday’s workout in Sunrise.
- You can click the embedded videos below or click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place. If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The Panthers will be paying attention to the Pittsburgh Penguins — at least, checking the score postgame.
While Marc-Andre Fleury remains popular in Pittsburgh, he will gain some new fans in South Florida if he leads the Wild to victory tonight.
- David Krejci left Boston Bruins practice early Wednesday and is questionable for their game tonight against Toronto.
- Where the Philadelphia Flyers stand in the draft lottery.
- And where the Montreal Canadiens are at.
- Robin Lehner of the Vegas Golden Knights is accused of fraud in his bankruptcy case.
- Ben Meyers gets another shot with the Colorado Avalanche.
- The LA Kings should give a bigger role to Rasmus Kupari.
PANTHERS ON DECK
OTTAWA SENATORS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Tied 1-1): Panthers 5, Senators 3 (Oct. 29); Senators 5, Panthers 2 (Mar. 27)
- Last season: Florida won 3-1
- All-time regular season series: Ottawa leads 57-43-5, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Florida at Washington, Saturday, 7 p.m.