Florida Panthers (3-9-4) at Ottawa Senators (6-6-4), 2 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Florida Panthers' slow start to the
season cost head coach Kevin Dineen his job. The Panthers will try to move
forward with a new bench boss when they visit the Ottawa Senators for
Saturday's matinee battle at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Panthers, mired in a seven-game losing streak, announced the firing of
Dineen and his assistant coaches, Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay, on Friday
morning. General manager Dale Tallon replaced Dineen with interim head coach
Peter Horachek, who will have Brian Skrudland and John Madden serve as his
The coaching shake-up came the day after a 4-1 loss at Boston on Thursday.
That setback dropped Florida to 0-3-4 during its current slide and to 3-9-4 on
"After 16 games it was clear that our team needed a change in philosophy and
direction," Tallon said in a statement Friday. "We have not met the
expectations that we set forth at training camp and it is my responsibility to
make the necessary changes to ensure that our club performs at its maximum
Dineen's tenure began with a 38-26-18 record and a Southeast Division title in
2011-12. The Panthers' first playoff appearance since 2000 ended with a
double-overtime loss to New Jersey in Game 7 of the opening round. However,
Florida, ravaged by injuries, plummeted to the bottom of the standings last
season, finishing with a league-low 36 points and a 15-27-6 record.
Horachek, 53, inherits a team with an NHL-worst minus-25 goal differential. He
was in his first season coaching the Panthers' American Hockey League
affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. Prior to his job in San Antonio, Horachek
spent nine seasons (2003-13) with the Nashville Predators, serving the last
two years as associate head coach.
"Peter is a bright hockey mind who brings to our club a wealth of coaching
knowledge," Tallon said.
Florida sent 24 shots at net in Thursday's game versus the Bruins, but Tuukka
Rask stopped 23 of them to anchor Boston in the 4-1 win at TD Garden. Jesse
Winchester scored the lone Florida goal late in the third period, while Scott
Clemmensen allowed all four goals on 30 shots in the loss.
The Panthers, who will close a three-game road trip Sunday against the New
York Rangers, fell to 1-5-1 as the visiting team this season.
Horachek's first game behind the Florida bench will be in a venue that's been
less to kind to the Panthers in recent years. Ottawa has won six straight and
10 of its last 13 home meetings versus Florida. Although the Panthers have won
two of the past four encounters in this series, Ottawa has claimed 11 of the
last 13 matchups.
While the Panthers try to end a lengthy slide on Saturday, the Senators will
aim for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Ottawa has
recorded consecutive wins against Columbus and Montreal and is 2-0-2 so far in
November after posting a disappointing 4-6-2 record in the first month of the
Ottawa has won both tilts during its two-game streak by 4-1 margins. After
earning a road win Tuesday in Columbus, the Senators notched a home win
Thursday against Montreal. Bobby Ryan had one goal and two assists to lead
Ottawa past the visiting Canadiens and begin a five-game homestand on a
"We made up some valuable points. That's essentially a four-point game there
and we've got a game in hand on a team that's right ahead of us, so I think
the thing we'll take from tonight is that we won a divisional game but we took
care of our home ice," Ryan said.
Marc Methot, Kyle Turris and Mark Borowiecki added one goal apiece and Clarke
MacArthur finished with a pair of assists for the Senators, who had lost five
straight before winning their last two outings.
Robin Lehner made 33 saves in the win and is line to get his third straight
start on Saturday. Lehner has filled in nicely since regular starter Craig
Anderson suffered a head/neck injury last Sunday against Dallas. Anderson is
expected to be available for today's game in a backup capacity. Nathan Lawson
had been serving as a backup to Lehner while Anderson was out of the lineup.
Ottawa is 2-3-2 as the host this season and will also welcome Philadelphia,
Boston and Columbus to Canada's capital city before this homestand is over.
11/09 10:35:28 ET
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