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Struggling Sens hope to continue dominance of Panthers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators try to avoid a third straight setback on Tuesday night as they visit the Florida Panthers, a team they have had a ton of success against lately.
The Sens are coming off an emotionally-filled 4-2 setback to Detroit on Sunday as Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson made his first trip back to Ottawa since leaving as a free agent this past offseason.
Alfredsson was honored with a pregame video tribute and a standing ovation before later capping his return with an empty-net goal.
Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad lit the lamp for the Senators, who stumbled to their sixth loss in eight. Robin Lehner stopped 19 pucks in defeat.
"They're a team that if you give them those opportunities, they're going to take advantage of them. They took what we gave them and they made it the difference," Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean said.
Zibanejad has tried to be a difference-maker for the Senators as he scored in his third straight game. The sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft has eight goals and 11 points in 19 games this season, while MacArthur has tallied five goals and eight points in his previous seven contests.
Ottawa recalled center Mike Hoffman from Binghamton of the American Hockey League on Monday and the 24-year-old's 26 points ranked second in the AHL at the time of his call up.
Hoffman skated with Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan during practice on Monday, while MacArthur joined Jason Spezza and Zibanejad on a line.
MacLean may give Craig Anderson the start tonight given that the goaltender is 9-1-1 with a 1.90 goals against average and two shutouts in 12 prior meetings with the Panthers. However, Anderson was lifted early in a loss to Vancouver last Thursday.
Lehner is 1-1-0 with a 3.01 GAA in two meetings with Florida, beating the Panthers on Nov. 9 with 26 saves.
Zibanejad, MacArthur and Turris all scored in the home win for Ottawa, which has won 12 of its last 14 versus Florida.
The Sens have also won six of their past eight in Sunrise.
Tim Thomas made 29 saves in the loss for Florida. Recently, Thomas did not make it past the second period in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, yielding four goals on 13 shots in his 11th consecutive start. Scott Clemmensen halted all eight shots he faced in relief.
Scottie Upshall scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who lost despite outshooting the Penguins 40-22.
"The mistakes went back to us again," Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek said. "We have to decide if we're going to be a mentally focused team. We have 40 shots; we outchance them, we outshoot them, they capitalize on their opportunities. A good team does that."
Florida fell to 1-2-0 on a five-game homestand that concludes on Thursday versus Winnipeg and is 4-6-3 overall as the hosting club this season.
Thomas fell to 23-10-2 with a 2.01 GAA and six shutouts in 35 career meetings with the Senators in the recent loss.
12/03 10:55:27 ET