|Panthers hope to end 'unacceptable' skid against Senators|
In their past 10 games, the Florida Panthers are 3-7-0, the Ottawa Senators 3-6-1.
On Monday night, the slumping Panthers will play host to the rebuilding Senators at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The Panthers, who entered last week with the fourth-highest scoring average in the NHL, have lost three straight games. Surprisingly, the Panthers' once fast-skating offense was held to a total of just four goals in those three games.
"It's unacceptable," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. "In our last three games, you can take chunks out of it and say, 'It's not even close to being good enough,' and we're at home."
Indeed, the Panthers are in the final stages of a nine-game homestand, the longest in franchise history. But Florida has not taken advantage, posting a 3-4-0 with two games to go.
This will be the first time this season that the Panthers and Senators meet. Last season, the Panthers won three of four in the series, all in regulation.
Ottawa is coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night and will be looking for its first back-to-back victories since winning three straight Nov. 19-22.
Senators winger Anthony Duclair had a hat trick against Columbus, including a power-play goal in overtime.
Duclair, 24, has eight goals in his past five games and 18 on the season. This is Duclair's fifth team in five years, and he needs three more goals to set a career high.
"I'm getting the opportunity to prove myself every shift," Duclair said. "In the past, if I made a mistake, I was glued to the bench. Now, if I have a bad shift, I'm right back out there to prove myself and to show that it won't happen again."
Duclair is just the third player in Senators history to score a hat trick that included an overtime goal, and Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said the winger has been "very responsive" and a good teammate.
"His work ethic has seriously improved," Smith said. "And he's a team-first guy."
Duclair aside, the Senators are without second-pairing defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who suffered a hand injury on Thursday. DeMelo has six assists in 32 games this season.
The Senators were already without starting goalie Craig Anderson, 38, who hasn't played since Dec. 7 due to a lower-body injury. Anderson started 47 games last season. This year, he is 5-8-0 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.
With Anderson out, Anders Nilsson, 29, has made three consecutive starts, allowing eight goals and going 2-0-1. For the season, he is 9-8-2 with a 3.02 GAA and a .913 save percentage.
Offensively, Duclair leads the Senators in goals and points (25). Defenseman Thomas Chabot tops the team in assists (18).
The Panthers are powered by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has allowed just nine goals in his past five games, although his record during that span is only 2-3-0. For the season, he is 11-9-4 with a 3.14 GAA and a .900 save percentage.
Winger Brett Connolly leads the Panthers in goals (14). Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau and center Aleksander Barkov top the Panthers points chart with 37 and 36, respectively.
Barkov suffered an apparent leg injury late in Florida's 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins, but Quenneville said it was not serious.
--Field Level Media