The Florida Panthers kick off a 3-game home stand tonight against the Ottawa Senators. With just 6 games remaining, Florida trails 8th seed Montreal by just 1 point for the final playoff spot. The Canadiens also have a game in hand.
Despite losing a tough game to open the Panthers' recent 3-game road trip, Florida fought back and won the final 2 games of the roadie, earning 4 crucial points to keep pace with the pack. A 4-2 win over the Flyers, followed by a 6-3 win in Dallas helped keep the hope alive.
Tonight, a red-hot Senators team visits the Bank Atlantic Center. The playoffs are realistically out of reach for the Sens, and that has the team playing some loose hockey lately. Ottawa has won 10 of it's last 13 games. And with "the Big 3" (Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza), Ottawa still presents plenty of danger for the Panthers. Florida will need to play that same desperation, all-out, playoff style of hockey that was present in the last 2 games. There isn't time to have a slow start or a weak period.
Craig Anderson is in net for the Panthers'. His play backstopped the last 2 Panther wins. Let's hope the winning ways continue. In other action, Montreal hosts the Chicago Blackhawks. Both pucks drop at 7:30.