Senators pounce on Panthers, hang on for win
OTTAWA — The battle of the Tkachuk brothers went to the younger Brady in every sense Monday night.
A goal and an assist by Brady Tkachuk helped the Ottawa Senators get past the visiting Florida Panthers and Matthew Tkachuk 5-2 on Monday. The elder Tkachuk was held pointless.
The home crowd got into the action as well as they broke into a “Brady’s better” chant on a couple of occasions.
“To be honest I thought it was awesome,” Senators forward Tim Stutzle said of the chant. “I think we have to give Matthew credit, too. I think he has 97 points, he’s an unreal player and he had some chances tonight too, but in the end I’ll for sure stick with Brady.”
Erik Brannstrom, Alex DeBrincat, Stutzle and Shane Pinto also scored goals for the Senators (36-33-5), while Mads Sogaard made 32 saves for the win.
The Panthers (36-31-7), who have now lost four straight games, got two goals from Gustav Forsling and a 21-save performance from Sergei Bobrovsky.
“I think for the most part we were pretty good. It wasn’t a bad performance. We just got into some penalty trouble and they capitalized on their chances,” Matthew said.
“I thought five-on-five we dominated but special teams did not go in our favour.”
Holding a slim 3-2 late in the game, Stutzle scored at 17:37 to give the Senators the insurance goal they would need. Pinto then scored into an empty net with 90 seconds to play to ice the game.
With virtually no room for error in pursuit of a playoff position, the Senators came out swinging opening up a 2-0 lead before the end of the opening 20 minutes.
Tkachuk opened the scoring on a nice setup from Thomas Chabot nine minutes into the game. Chabot made a stutter-step move at the blue line before driving to the middle of the ice before dishing off to Tkachuk for a one-timer from the side of the goal.
Then, with just over a minute to play in the opening period, Brannstrom picked up a loose puck in front and beat Bobrovsky with a quick shot on the power play.
The Panthers got one back six minutes into the second period when Forsling beat Sogaard with a point shot, but DeBrincat restored Ottawa’s two-goal lead when he finished off a three-way passing play on the power play with less than a minute left in the second period.
“I thought we played a good game, capitalized on our chances and got a big two points. We’ve got to keep the momentum going for the next couple of games,” DeBrincat said.
Forsling scored his second goal of the game just seconds after the Senators killed off a penalty midway through the third period.
“We took too many penalties and they really made us pay on their power play,” Forsling said. “We’ve been pretty good five-on-five but they have skilled guys on the power play and we took some stupid penalties."
The Senators were 3-for-4 on the power play, while the Panthers went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Monday marked the second of three meetings this season between the Senators and Panthers. The Panthers were 5-3 winners in Florida on Oct. 29. They will close out the season series in Florida on April 6. … Jacob Chychrun, Ridly Greig, Cam Talbot, Tyler Kleven, Parker Kelly and Julien Gauthier were scratches for the Senators Monday. Casey Fitzgerald and Sam Bennett were scratches for the Panthers.
The Senators wrap up their three-game homestand with games Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers and Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Panthers continue their road swing in Toronto Wednesday and then in Montreal against the Canadiens Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2023.