Florida Panthers vs. Ottawa Senators Recap: 04/04/2024

Bobrovsky celebrates a shutout against Ottawa. Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Game three for the Panthers’ road trip brought them to Ottawa for their second match of the season on the Senators’ home ice. Ekblad and Verhaeghe are both out injured and expected to miss the rest of the regular season but should be ready for game 1 of the Playoffs. After a disappointing start to the road trip, the Panthers finally looked like themselves in Ottawa, heavy forechecking, offensive pressure, and strong defense. The last time the Panthers were in Ottawa, there were 10 players thrown out with game misconducts; while there wasn’t that level of fighting this time around, there was still plenty of animosity between the teams and enough penalties to go around. The Panthers complimented their strong defense with depth scoring and a shutout performance from Bobrovsky.

Defense Back On Track:

As of late the Panthers’ haven’t looked like the best defensive team in the NHL. Sloppy play and crippling turnovers led to goals for the opposition and any lead the team had slipping away. The Cats righted the defensive ship Thursday night with a very strong defensive game against the Senators. Florida ended the night with 14 blocked shots, 31 hits, and the PK going 6/6. The PK saw a lot of time, especially in the 1st period, where Ottawa got 4 power plays after the Panthers scored 2 goals in the first 2 minutes of the game. Two of the night’s penalties could’ve been avoided as they were delay of game penalties which have been happening more frequently for Florida in the last three weeks. The Panthers will need to be more mindful when clearing the puck to make sure it hits the glass instead of going straight over into the stands. Overall, the defense looked like it did about a month ago, which was a welcome change of pace for fans. 

Depth Scoring:

As the Panthers look to finalize their forward line combinations for the Playoffs, Thursday night may have been a preview of how they’ll shake out, with the exception of Verhaeghe being out. The lines worked well together and got goal-scoring from the top 3 lines. The 2nd line of Cousins-Bennett-Tkachuk was the most productive, with each player getting a goal and Bennett & Tkachuk notching assists as well. Kulikov scored his first goal of the season, Lundell made an incredible sharp-angle shot from below the goal line that bounced off the back of Korpisalo, and Reinhart scored his 53rd goal of the season. With so much PK in the first period, the ice time was lopsided for the heavy hitters, so the 4th line didn’t see much action until later in the game. Having 6 different goal scorers is a good sign for the Playoffs, as it can make the offense more unpredictable. Everyone knows that Reinhart likes to score from the slot, especially on the PP, so when Barkov & Tkachuk are also scoring, it means teams can’t hone in on just Reinhart. Fans saw that benefit as Forsberg committed to a Barkov shot, only for him to pass it to Tkachuk, who scored. 

Bobrovsky Shutout:

Monday night against the Maple Leafs was a poor game for everyone on the Panthers’ side. Yes, the 3rd period effort was great, even if the comeback came up short, but a good 20 minutes doesn’t excuse the other 40. Bobrovsky had one of his roughest games of the season, allowing in 5 goals in 2 periods. I wouldn’t say all of those are his fault, as the team put him in bad situations. It still stands that that’s not the best performance from Bob. The last time the Panthers played in Ottawa, Bob got the shutout stopping all 20 shots. This time around was a rinse and repeat as Bobrovsky shut out Ottawa for the second time on their home ice this year. He stopped all 30 shots, including a busy 1st period where he saw 14 SOG. There were a couple of saves that were highlight-worthy and robbed the Senators of a goal or two. This was a strong response game from Bob after Monday’s rough go and earned him 1st star honors. Bob is still 3rd in the NHL for goalie wins with a .913 SV%, 2.42 GAA, and now 5 shutouts on the season. Saturday afternoon, the Panthers head to Boston to take on the Bruins for the last time during the regular season. 

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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