OTTAWA - Dramatic finishes are becoming the norm these days for the streaking Ottawa Senators.
Nick Foligno scored the game winner with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation Thursday night as the Senators defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3.
It was the second game this week the Senators won by scoring with seconds remaining in a game. Ottawa defeated Columbus 4-3 on Saturday as Milan Michalek scored with 4.7 seconds left to play.
“It’s a lot of fun isn’t it – as long as you win it,” said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean. “I thought it was a very well-played game by both teams and came down to the last minute. I thought the third period we hit the pedal on the right, and hit the gas for the whole period, and that’s what we wanted to do and we ended up bringing home a win.”
Daniel Alfredsson, Stephane Da Costa and Colin Greening also scored for the Senators (5-5-0), who extended their winning streak to four games. Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots.
Jason Garrison, Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg scored for the Panthers (5-4-0). Jacob Markstrom stopped 34 shots.
“Not to come out with any points is really disappointing,” said Panthers defenceman Brian Campbell. “We feel we’re a playoff team, but we can’t give away points like that. It’s unacceptable on all of our parts, especially giving up late goals like that. We’ve just got to be better in all areas.”
The Panthers opened the scoring at the four-minute mark of the first period as Garrison beat Anderson with a quick wrist shot. The Senators have given up the first goal in seven out of 10 games this season.
Alfredsson tied the game early at 5:27 of the second period, scoring on a delayed penalty call.
Florida regained the lead just over one minute later as Weiss ended a great series of passing by scoring from the slot.
Ottawa tied the game at 14:14 of the second as Erik Condra fed Da Costa who had just come out of the penalty box and beat Markstrom high stick side.
Da Costa played with Alfredsson and Foligno as the Senators are hoping the 22-year-old will be able to add some offence. The line played well Thursday and Da Costa didn’t look out of place.
“At the beginning of the season we came back from behind a lot,” said Da Costa. “We’re a young team and we want to win the games even if we’re behind we’re always going to give a 110 per cent.”
The Senators created a number of chances in the third, but couldn't find a way to solve Markstrom until Greening slotted it through his legs to give Ottawa its first lead of the game at 17:53.
It was once again short-lived as Versteeg tied the game with less than one minute remaining.
“It was a bit of a whirlwind there,” said Greening, who admitted he thought his goal would stand as the game winner. “It goes to show you have to play a full 60 minutes. I was just happy that (Foligno) pulled us out of here. I think it’s really fun for the fans and a lot of people will stay to the end now.”
Foligno then rescued the game with his winning goal.
“Some sloppy play at the end really cost us and obviously we learned some good lessons and again that’s not the defining moment for us this year,” said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen.
Notes: The Senators were without C Peter Regin (shoulder, 6-8 weeks), D Matt Carkner (knee, indefinitely) and RW Bobby Butler (groin, indefinitely). D Brian Lee was a healthy scratch. Florida rookie D Erik Gudbranson was told he would be staying with the team for the season. The Panthers were without LW Sean Bergenheim (abdomen), RW Mikael Samuelsson (undisclosed), C Quinton Howden (undisclosed), G Scott Clemmensen (knee, one month). D Keaton Ellerby was a healthy scratch.