Panthers try to open with consecutive wins, visit Sens
The Florida Panthers will try to open a season with back- to-back wins for the first time since 2005-06 as they visit the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
The Panthers began defense of their first ever Southeast Division title on Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, getting a pair of power-play goals from defenseman Brian Campbell.
Campbell notched the second multi-goal game of his career, having logged his first two-goal contest on Nov. 17, 2005 while with the Buffalo Sabres.
"We're a score-by-committee team and we're going to need all four lines to chip in on different occasions," said Campbell.
It was a new-look second line that contributed to Saturday's win. Coach Kevin Dineen put rookie Jonathan Huberdeau between wingers Alex Kovalev and Peter Mueller and the third overall pick of the 2011 draft had a goal and two assists in his NHL debut.
"At the beginning, I was just trying to be less nervous," said Huberdeau, who scored just 3:37 into the game. "I think when I scored my goal it made me relax a little bit and play my game."
Kovalev and Mueller also had points in their Florida debuts. Kovalev matched his young center with a goal and two assists, while Mueller had a helper.
Jose Theodore stopped all but one of the 42 shots he faced for the Panthers, who will play back-to-back games on the road, including Tuesday at Montreal.
Before visiting the Canadiens, Florida will look to win for the first time in six games at Ottawa. The Panthers snapped a nine-game slide to the Senators with a home win the last meeting on March 4.
Ottawa also began its campaign with a victory, picking up a big road win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson paced the 4-1 victory with a goal and assist.
"Obviously it's fun to win, and especially the first one here. I think it was a big one for us," Karlsson said. "I don't think we played the best game we are going to this year but we came away with a win and right now that's the important thing."
Chris Neil, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris also lit the lamp for the Senators, who lost to the top-seeded New York Rangers in seven games in the first round of the playoffs last season following an 18-point improvement from the previous campaign.
Craig Anderson made 27 saves for Ottawa, which will be off following this game until visiting the Panthers on Thursday.