Final
  for this game

Panthers-Senators Preview

Mar 27, 2010 - 5:29 AM By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer

Florida (30-32-11) at Ottawa (39-30-5), 7:00 p.m. EDT

Injuries haven't prevented the Ottawa Senators from stringing together three consecutive victories.

Another head injury, though, will likely keep one of the Florida Panthers' top players out indefinitely.

With the status of two key performers uncertain, the Senators on Saturday night hope to continue their recent surge while trying to avoid a fourth straight home loss to the Panthers, who may not have David Booth available.

Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson each had a goal and an assist as Ottawa (40-30-5) won 4-2 over Buffalo on Friday for its third straight win after losing five in a row.

The Senators, fifth in the Eastern Conference, won despite leading goal scorer Milan Michalek being out for a fourth straight game with a leg injury, and Alex Kovalev missing his first with a lower-body injury. Both are day-to-day.

"That's what it's all about at this time of the year, because nobody is going to be healthy," said Spezza, who has four goals and two assists in his last four games.

After recording nine goals during their recent skid, the Senators have eight in the last three. Ottawa, however, has struggled to score at home against Florida (30-32-11) of late.

Though the teams split their previous two meetings this season, the Senators have been outscored 10-4 during a three-game home losing streak to the Panthers. Tomas Vokoun made 24 saves in Florida's 3-0 win on Jan. 9 at Scotiabank Place.

Ottawa's Brian Elliott has been almost unbeatable in his last three starts, stopping 96 of 98 shots. With Pascal Leclaire winless in his last seven starts, Elliott could be back in net after making 41 saves against the Sabres.

Elliott is 1-2-0 with a 3.80 goals-against average versus the Panthers in his career.

Though Vokoun blanked the Senators in January, he has a 4.00 GAA while losing four in a row. Backup Scott Clemmensen, meanwhile, has won his last two starts, and is 3-0-0 with a 2.02 GAA all-time versus Ottawa.

The Panthers are 12th in the East and seven points out of the final playoff spot. They're also expected to be without Booth after the forward suffered his second concussion of the season during a 4-1 loss at Montreal on Thursday.

Booth, who had four goals in his previous four games, was released from a Montreal hospital Friday after spending the night there for precautionary reasons as a result of an open-ice shoulder check to the head he took from the Canadiens' Jaroslav Spacek.

The hit came hours after the executive board of the players' union voted to accept a new temporary rule that will ban hits to the head against unsuspecting players.

Booth missed 45 games after he sustained a concussion on a blindside hit from Philadelphia's Mike Richards on Oct. 24. His status for the rest of the season is uncertain.

"I think everybody could see it didn't look good but hopefully it wasn't as bad as his last one," teammate Nathan Horton said. "We're just hoping for the best."

Horton has a goal and two assists against the Senators this season. He also has a goal and three assists in five games after missing 17 with a broken leg.






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  • -------------------------------------------
    Florida
    0 1 1 --2
    Ottawa 0 2 1 --3
    -------------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: None.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Florida, Stephen Weiss 26 (Cory
    Stillman), 06:59. 2, Ottawa, Matt Cullen 15 (Erik Karlsson, Chris
    Campoli), 15:02. 3, Ottawa, Peter Regin 12 (Jason Spezza, Erik
    K

    Mar 27 9:44 PM


  • -------------------------------------------
    Florida
    0 1 1 --2
    Ottawa 0 2 1 --3
    -------------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: None.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Florida, Stephen Weiss 26 (Cory
    Stillman), 06:59. 2, Ottawa, Matt Cullen 15 (Erik Karlsson, Chris
    Campoli), 15:02. 3, Ottawa, Peter Regin 12 (Jason Spezza, Erik
    K

    Mar 27 9:44 PM
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  • --------------------------------------
    Florida
    0 1 --1
    Ottawa 0 2 --2
    --------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: None.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Florida, Stephen Weiss 26 (Cory
    Stillman), 06:59. 2, Ottawa, Matt Cullen 15 (Erik Karlsson, Chris
    Campoli), 15:02. 3, Ottawa, Peter Regin 12 (Jason Spezza, Erik
    Karlsson), 17:40. Pe

    Mar 27 8:47 PM


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  • ---------------------------------
    Florida
    0 --0
    Ottawa 0 --0
    ---------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: None.

    Shots on goal:
    ---------------------------------
    Florida 5 --5
    Ottawa 8 --8
    ---------------------------------

    Goalies : Florida, Tomas Vokoun (8 shots, 8 saves). Ottawa, Brian
    Elliott (5 shots,

    Mar 27 7:49 PM