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Senators field veteran team but still fall 2-1 to Panthers in NHL exhibition

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

OTTAWA - Even though pre-season records don't mean that much, the Ottawa Senators were clearly frustrated after dropping their second straight to Florida.

With 17.3 seconds remaining in regulation it appeared Jason Spezza tied the game, but the goal was called back and the Panthers went on to beat the Senators 2-1 Wednesday. The Senators were beaten 3-1 by the Panthers on Tuesday in both team's pre-season opener.

"It's not the end of the world to lose a pre-season game," said Spezza, "but now we're 0-2."

While video replay is not used in pre-season action, the replay on the jumbotron clearly showed the goal had crossed the line.

"It was pretty obvious," said Senators coach Cory Clouston. "We looked at it from a couple of angles and clearly it's a goal."

The Senators had a number of key veterans in the line-up yet still couldn't find a way to win the game.

Jordan Leopold and Dmitri Kulikov scored for the Panthers.

Ottawa fans also got their first look at Alex Kovalev, Jonathan Cheechoo and prospect Erik Karlsson.

"As a team we didn't play great," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "Kovalev made a couple of nice plays and Jonathan had a couple of chances."

While Kovalev and Cheechoo will be counted on to make up much of the offence lost in the Dany Heatley trade, Karlsson is just hoping to make enough of an impact to make the team.

Karlsson, the Senators first-round pick, 15th overall, in 2008, played his second consecutive game and didn't look out of place.

"Karlsson showed a lot of poise and composure," said Clouston. "I thought he played well."

The Panthers opened the scoring on a power play seven minutes into the first period. Senators goalie Brian Elliott left the right side of his net wide open, and Leopold took advantage.

Despite a couple of good chances in the opening period, the Senators were unable to tie the game.

Ottawa's newcomers made an impression with the Senators' first goal. Kovalev started the play that led to Chris Phillips' power-play goal, while Cheechoo had an assist.

Both Kovalev and Cheechoo saw substantial ice time on the power play Wednesday.

"It was nice just to get out there," said Cheechoo. "I hadn't played in a contact game since last year. It was good to get banged and give a few bangs."

The Panthers regained the lead midway through the second as Kulikov beat Ottawa goalie Mike Brodeur on the first shot he faced after replacing Elliott midway through the period.

The Senators are back in action Friday as they play a home-and-home with the Montreal Canadiens.

Notes: Milan Milchalek, acquired from San Jose as part of the Heatley trade, skated with his new teammates for the first time Wednesday.



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