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OTTAWA, Ontario – In a disappointing season, the Ottawa Senators finished up their home schedule by giving their fans something to cheer about.
Buddy Robinson scored his first NHL goal, helping the Senators defeat the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Thursday night. Mika Zibanejad and Cody Ceci also scored for the Senators, who finished 21-14-6 at home.
"We did what we had to do and at the end of the day it was nice to get the win going into the third with a lead," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. "Last home game here, so it's always nice to get away with a win and I think we deserved it and everybody did as good a job as they needed to."
Craig Anderson made 32 saves in his 60th start of the season for the Senators.
Jaromir Jagr had the lone goal for the Panthers, whose three-game winning streak was stopped.
"It wasn't our best game, that's for sure," Jagr said. "We just have to make sure we regroup. We have to make sure we play a lot better than tonight. The body just remembers the last game, so we have to make sure we play the best hockey before going into the playoffs. Two bad games before the playoffs, I don't think would be very smart."
The Senators took a 2-0 lead midway through the second period when Robinson redirected Ceci's point shot. It was Robinson's second NHL game after he spent the majority of the season with the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators.
"It was unbelievable," Robinson said with a huge grin. "It's something you dream about as a kid growing up and you see it go in the back of the net, especially at home, the fans erupt, it's just something you can't really explain. Awesome."
Zibanejad opened the scoring late in the first period with a power-play goal. It was his 20th of the season and gave the Senators five 20-goal scorers for the second straight season.
Trailing 2-0, the Panthers got on the board at the four-minute mark of the third when Aleksander Barkov made a pass from behind the net to Jagr, who squeezed the puck in for his 27th of the season.
"You've got to be mentally there," said Panthers goalie Al Montoya, who made 20 saves. "There's no turning on that light switch come next week. For us, it's about that desperation mentality and why not have that? We owe it to ourselves. This was a rough one. Let's get back at it.
"You're always playing for something. You can never be content in this League. Shame on us if it looked like it a little bit."
Ceci scored his 10th of the season to give the Senators some breathing room late in the third, beating Montoya through traffic to make it 3-1.
With time winding down, Anderson made a huge blocker save on Rocco Grimaldi that brought a huge cheer from the sellout crowd of 19,165.
"Winning is fun," Anderson said. "We showed up tonight, we played well and we were able to hold on to a lead, which is nice. We were just glad that we were able to seal the deal on this one and make sure we got the win."
NOTES: Karlsson picked up his 65th assist on the Senators' first goal and now has 81 points, setting career highs in both categories. He's also the first defenseman since the Rangers' Brian Leetch had 85 in the 1995-96 season to have more than 80 points. ... RW Mark Stone missed his fourth straight game (upper body) and Mark Methot missed his third (undisclosed). Florida D Erik Gudbranson missed his second straight game (upper body). ... Senators D Chris Phillips was in uniform to take part in the postgame celebration when players gave fans their sticks, marking the first time this season that Phillips was on the ice with all his teammates because of a back injury that has sidelined him. He's a free agent after the season, but also could retire. "It potentially could be," Phillips said of whether it might have been his last time wearing an Ottawa uniform. "Lots of thinking and decisions to make this summer, but there was a chance so I wanted to try and make the most of it."