It's going to be easy to label just about every game as an "important two points" down the stretch but this one took on extra significance with both teams in the thick of the East playoff race. And while the Sens started strong, they just couldn't sustain that effort level for a full sixty minutes
Playing his second career game in the NHL and first in a Senators uniform, Rob Klinkhammer played on a line with Alfredsson and Turris and was possibly the Sens best forward. On the game's opening goal, Klinkhammer was hard on the fore check and set a perfect screen for a Jared Cowen point shot.
Late in the first, it was Jim O'Brien with a good hard work shift that resulted in Chris Neil's 11th of the season and a well deserved 2-0 lead after twenty. Unfortunately for MacLean's squad, a strong start evaporated in an awful hurry as the Panthers looked like a different team to start the second period.
First it was Marcel Goc deflecting a shot up and over Robin Lehner and then minutes later, Krys Barch beat Lehner on a breakaway to tie the game at 2-2. Neil took a double minor for high sticking half way through the period and the Panthers wasted no time making Ottawa pay, as Samuelsson deflected a pass in tight to give Florida a lead they would not relinquish.
Kyle Turris had the best chance to tie the game in the third but his snap shot caught iron after beating Theodore high on the glove hand side.
Obviously a frustrating loss for the Senators to drop a game that they were in control of after twenty. You could see just how frustrated the Sens best players were as both Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza took bad penalties.
The Senators have a busy week ahead that will see them play three more games before the week is out. Next up are the surging Lightning on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay.