Panthers at Senators
The combination of energetic youth and veteran wisdom worked well for the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Jonathan Huberdeau and Alex Kovalev both had three points in a 5-1 win over Carolina and the Panthers hope to see more of the same when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Monday. Huberdeau, who scored 30 goals in 37 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, scored on his first NHL shot and added two assists. Jose Theodore stopped 41 shots in a strong opening-night performance.
Senators head coach Paul MacLean was less enthusiastic about his team’s 4-1 season-opening victory in Winnipeg against the Jets. MacLean called the game “a dog’s breakfast,” and Ottawa’s victory certainly didn’t look pretty with Milan Michalek and Chris Neil scoring key goals by chopping at loose pucks near the crease. But the win counts, and Erik Karlsson gave the Senators confidence with a goal and two assists as he picked up where he left off after his Norris Trophy-winning season.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Florida, Sportsnet East
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (1-0-0): Kovalev, 39, played his 1,303rd game on Saturday and has 1,027 points. Lady Byng Trophy winner Brian Campbell, who led Florida defensemen with 53 points last season, scored twice on the power play and the Panthers were 3-for-6 with the man advantage. Theodore, 36, posted a 2.42 goals-against average and .917 save percentage last season. Peter Mueller, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason after dealing with concussion problems early in his career, had an assist and was a plus-2 against the Hurricanes.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (1-0-0): Craig Anderson made 27 saves to open his season on a positive note. Anderson allowed five goals against the Red Wings in his first start in 2011-12. Kyle Turris scored late in the game Saturday and had five shots, but was 6-for-18 in the faceoff circle. Offseason signing Guillaume Latendresse looked comfortable in Ottawa’s lineup, adding size and forechecking with four hits and a plus-1 against the Jets. Rookie forward Jakob Silfverberg fired three shots and blocked two while posting a plus-1 in his NHL debut.
1. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, 40, has played 1,132 games - 171 fewer than Kovalev. Alfredsson has stated he is considering retiring after this season.
2. Ottawa earned a 3-1-0 record against the Panthers last season, winning both home games in the series.
3. George Parros had a penalty and three hits as his mustache made its debut in a Panthers uniform.
PREDICTION: Senators 4, Panthers 2