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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, March 31st (All times eastern)

Ottawa Senators (29-38-10) at Florida Panthers (29-36-12), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers are returning to the BankAtlantic Center off a winless road trip. A visit from the Ottawa Senators isn't likely to brighten their moods.

The Panthers try to avoid a seventh straight defeat and a season-series sweep at the hands of the Ottawa Senators in a battle between two of the Eastern Conference's bottom teams.

Florida returns to Sunrise following an 0-3-2 road trip that concluded with a 3-2 shootout setback in Columbus on Tuesday. Coupled with a shootout loss to the Islanders at home right before the swing, the Panthers are on their longest losing streak of the season and are in danger of dropping seven in a row for the first time since Feb. 1-March 2 of last season.

David Booth scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season on Tuesday and Evgeny Dadonov forced the extra time with his third-period tally. Scott Clemmensen ended with 30 saves, including 11 in the third and overtime, but yielded the lone tally of the tiebreaker as the Panthers fell to 18-18-12 in 48 one-goal games this season, a franchise record since the league did away with ties.

Twelve of the Panthers' last 14 games have been decided by a single goal.

"We looked like we were playing our fifth game in seven nights in the first," said Florida head coach Peter DeBoer. "We came out and Clem gave us a chance to get our legs under us. I thought in the second and third that we were the better team. We had more chances, we created a lot more. Guys worked hard. For the end of a road trip, I thought our guys really gutted it out."

Clemmensen could get the start again tonight with Tomas Vokoun battling back spasms and is 3-1-0 with a 2.69 goals-against average in his career versus the Senators.

The Panthers will now play two straight at home, but are just 3-6-2 in their past 11 as the host. They have also lost three straight and 15 of their past 18 games at home versus the Senators.

Ottawa has outscored Florida, 12-5, in winning all three matchups this season, running its overall winning streak in this series to five straight. The Sens have also won seven of their past 10 against the Panthers and can sweep the four-game set for the first time since 2006-07 this evening.

Ottawa is last in the East with 68 points, two back of Florida and the New York Islanders in the standings with five games to play.

The Sens are 0-1-1 on a three-game road trip, dropping a 5-2 decision at the Lightning on Tuesday. Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek both scored and Curtis McElhinney yielded four goals on 30 shots.

"I thought we played pretty good despite what the score says. They're a pretty good team over there and we fought them hard all 60 minutes," said Spezza, who has five goals and 14 points in his last 10 games.

Ottawa is expected to go back to Craig Anderson tonight and he is 3-0-1 with a 2.17 GAA lifetime versus the Panthers. Anderson is also 8-4-1 with a 1.99 GAA in 14 starts with the Sens since coming over in a trade with the Avalanche.

03/31 10:48:32 ET

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