Panthers use power play to top Senators

SUNRISE, Florida (AP) — The Florida Panthers have picked the
right time to find a spark for their power play.

Richard Zednik and Bryan McCabe scored man-advantage goals late
in the second period and lifted the Panthers to a 5-2 win over
the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss also scored for Florida, which
won its third straight game. Michael Frolik added an empty-net
goal with 1:32 left.

Chris Kelly and Chris Campoli both netted goals for Ottawa,
which was elimnated from playoff contention.

It was Florida’s third consecutive game with two power-play
goals. Before the Panthers’ three-game winning streak started
with a 4-2 victory in Philadelphia on Thursday, Florida had
converted just two of 24 power-play chances over eight games.

Craig Anderson, making his third straight start for Florida in
place of Tomas Vokoun, stopped 30 shots.

The Panthers appeared to be fading from the Eastern Conference
playoff picture earlier this month during a 1-4-3 skid. After a
5-3 loss to Buffalo on March 25, Florida coach Pete DeBoer
replaced Vokoun with Anderson.

“He’s been great over the past three games,” McCabe said of
Anderson. “Given us an opportunity to win every night. Even when
we’ve had slow starts, he’s shut the door.”

In his first career start against the Panthers, Ottawa rookie
Brian Elliott made 17 saves before he was replaced by Alex Auld
in the third period. Elliott earned his first NHL shutout when
he made 20 saves in a 3-0 win at Tampa Bay on Sunday.

“There are a couple of goals he probably should have had, the
second one and even the third one,” Ottawa coach Cory Clouston
said. “Even though there was some traffic, he opened himself up
and it just went right through him. He’s a young guy, still
growing, still has things he has to overcome.”

Although the Senators have been one of the league’s hottest
teams of late, they playoff hopes were dashed. They had won 10
of 13, but are in 11th place in the East. Ottawa, a Stanley Cup
finalist in 2007, hadn’t missed the playoffs since the 1995-96

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“It’s not something that snuck up on us,” Ottawa captain Daniel
Alfredsson said. “We’ve known this situation for a long time.
Our focus hasn’t been only on trying to get into the playoffs,
it’s been on turning things around, which we definitely have,
and now it’s a matter of trying to keep our momentum and keep
playing. Even though we didn’t win today, we did a lot of great
things and we’ve got to keep that going until the end of the

The Panthers, meanwhile, entered play Tuesday ninth in the East.
Florida, which hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2000, was one
point behind Montreal. The Canadiens beat Chicago 4-1 Tuesday

With Brendan Bell serving a double minor for high-sticking,
Zednik scored with 2:42 left in the second period. He pushed the
puck through Elliott’s pads to give Florida a 2-1 lead after
Elliott stopped his initial shot from the side of the net. Then
1:06 later, McCabe’s slap shot from the high slot went off
Ottawa defenseman Anton Volchenkov and trickled into the net to
make it 3-1. The goal came seconds after Alfredsson’s shot went
off the post.

“It’s a very small margin sometimes,” Alfredsson said. “That was
probably the heartbreaker for us.”

Weiss put the Panthers up 4-1 at 2:02 in the third period when
he deflected David Booth’s shot from the wing.

Campoli’s shot went off the leg of Florida defenseman Karlis
Skrastins to make it 4-2 at 13:27 of the third period.

Horton, who missed six games this month with a finger
laceration, opened the scoring at 4:35 in the second period. He
converted a pass from Cory Stillman on a 2-on-1 for his 21st

Kelly tied it at 1 with 7:36 left in the second period.