Sluggish Panthers seek better outcome against Senators

The Florida Panthers will look to avoid a third straight loss when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators on Thursday.

Florida (47-24-5, 99 points) fell 5-3 in Montreal on Tuesday night and has lost four of five. The Panthers have just two wins over their past 10 (2-7-1).

“I think we gave way too many chances to them to score,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “They’re a high-skill team, a fast team. They got what they wanted, so they scored the goals.

“We just couldn’t keep the puck out of the net, so we obviously need to be better than that.”

The Panthers, second in the Atlantic Division, are 25-11-3 on the road this season.

Sam Reinhart, who leads the Panthers with 52 goals and 87 points, has four goals and three assists over his past six games. Barkov has four goals and seven points in his previous five and forward Sam Bennett has goals in back-to-back games.

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad left Tuesday’s game with an undisclosed injury. The Panthers were already without Matthew Tkachuk (illness), Jonah Gadjovich (undisclosed) and Carter Verhaeghe (upper body) in Montreal.

“We’re going to lose guys,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “I told you that two weeks ago. We’re going to lose bodies. We’re going to get guys sick, get guys injured. It’s just a function of the schedule.

” It’s going to be a grinder. … We’ve got a good chunk of adversity right now, and part of it will be the panic that will set in outside the room.”

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is 33-17-3 this season with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

Florida won the first two meetings of the season series with Ottawa. The Panthers blanked the Senators 5-0 on Nov. 27 and won 3-2 in overtime on Feb. 20.

Thursday is the third of four meetings between the two teams. Ottawa travels to Florida on April 9 for the fourth and final game of the season series.

The Senators enter Thursday’s contest following a 3-2 loss in Minnesota on Tuesday — their first loss since dropping a 5-2 decision in St. Louis on March 21.

“When you look at the goals they got, we beat ourselves,” Ottawa coach Jacques Martin said. “We gave them the goals and they didn’t give much, either. Both our goals were on the power play.

“I didn’t think we got on the inside, we didn’t drive the net and with a goaltender like (Marc-Andre) Fleury, you got to get in front of him. He sees the puck, he’s a good netminder, so you got to have more traffic and got to have better opportunities.”

Ottawa (33-37-4, 70 points), seventh in the Atlantic Division, is 6-4-0 over its past 10.

Tim Stutzle, the Senators’ leader with 70 points in 74 games, has points in back-to-back games. Captain Brady Tkachuk, the team leader with 33 goals, has seven assists over his past six games and forward Drake Batherson has nine points in his past six.

Ottawa netminder Joonas Korpisalo is 19-22-4 this season with a 3.27 GAA and a .890 save percentage.

–Field Level Media