Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmy Hayes scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lead the Florida Panthers in a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday.
Dylan Olsen and Sean Bergenheim also scored for the Panthers, who have won their past two. Al Montoya stopped 22 shots for the win.
"We're in the mix and that's where we should be. We're battling hard," said Panthers coach Gerard Gallant.
Chris Neil had a goal and an assist and Cody Ceci scored for the Senators, who have lost three of four. Craig Anderson allowed all three goals on 46 shots in the loss.
"We have a very good goalie and the rest of the group is not even close to being acceptable," said Senators coach Paul MacLean.
With the score tied in the third, Florida went on top at 7:31 as Vincent Trocheck skated down the left wing while holding off a checker and one-handed the puck over to the front where Hayes pushed it in for his fifth of the season.
Montoya didn't need to do much to make the lead hold, as Ottawa managed just four shots in the final 20 minutes.
Ottawa took the initial lead in the game at 5:04 of the first as Neil found himself all alone with the puck in front and swept it in for his fourth of the season.
It took Florida just 47 seconds to tie the game, though, when Olsen's big wrister from the slot off a rebound found the back of the net.
The only goal of the second went to the Senators when Ceci's wrister from the right wing went in for his first of the season.
Florida tied the game 34 seconds into the third as Bergenheim scored on a wrister with a knee on the ice at the left circle for his third of the season.
Florida plays in Columbus on Monday ... Ottawa plays at Tampa Bay on Saturday ... Ottawa had grabbed a 1-0 win over the Panthers in Florida on Oct. 13 ... Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play.