OTTAWA – Stephen Weiss listened to a piece of advice he’s been hearing all season, and it paid off.
Weiss scored 4:50 into overtime as the Florida Panthers downed the Ottawa Senators 4-3 at Scotiabank Place.
Following a Senators turnover, Weiss moved in across the Senators blue-line and took a shot that deflected off the outstretched stick of defenceman Chris Phillips and past netminder Alex Auld. It was only the third goal of the year for Weiss, who scored 20 in 2006-07.
“All year I’ve been hearing ‘shoot the puck’. I was just trying to get it at the net,” Weiss said.
Nick Boynton, Michal Repik and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for the Panthers (12-12-3) while Craig Anderson made 35 saves for the win.
Chris Kelly, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza replied for the Senators (10-10-5), who blew three one-goal leads. Auld made 36 stops, but it was the save he didn’t make in overtime that weighed on his mind after the game.
“It’s annoying to lose with that little time left. It would have been nice to stop that one,” Auld said.
“We knew what this team was all about. They work extremely hard and they put a lot of pressure on us. We had the lead a few times and let it slip away, but to lose like that with I don’t know how many seconds left, that’s no fun.”
The teams entered the third period tied 3-3 following a four-goal outburst in the second period. The Senators took leads of 2-1 and 3-2, but the Panthers scored to tie the game in quick succession both times.
Heatley scored at 2:32 of the second when his shot from the right face-off circle went through Anderson’s legs, but Repik scored his first career goal at 3:52 to tie the game. Repik was playing his first game in the NHL after being recalled from the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Rochester earlier in the day.
“I just went to the net and the puck was in front of me,” said Repik, who was leading the Americans in scoring before his call-up.
Jason Spezza scored for the fifth time in his past three games after taking a puck off the end boards and stuffing it past Anderson at 8:20, but again the Panthers responded. After a flurry in front of the Senators goal, Bouwmeester moved in from the point and beat Auld with a shot from the slot at 9:58, just 21 seconds into a power play.
The Senators played the final 91 seconds of the period with a two-man advantage but were unable to get a third go-ahead goal of the period.
Kelly scored his first goal in 15 games to give the Senators a 1-0 lead at 7:31 of the first period. Several players slid over a loose puck in the crease before Kelly lunged forward and knocked it into the back of the net. The goal was allowed after a review.
“I wasn’t really worried. The goalie didn’t have possession, the net wasn’t knocked off and the play wasn’t blown down, so there wasn’t really much worry,” Kelly said.
“It’s nice to contribute offensively. Everyone who plays hockey wants to score goals so it was nice to finally tap one in.”
The Panthers tied the game at 11:26 when Boynton one-timed a behind-the-net pass from Ville Peltonen past Auld.
Notes: Repik is the fourth player to make his NHL debut with the Panthers this season. The five injured Panthers veterans all skated Monday and coach Peter DeBoer says all five could return to action at some point during this five-game road trip. … Antoine Vermette has no goals and just one point in his last 14 games. … Goaltender Martin Gerber has appeared in just one of the Senators’ last 19 games.