Reimer, Panthers shut out Senators 1-0
SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida goaltender James Reimer and red-hot left winger Jonathan Huberdeau gave the Panthers a Christmas gift the club was in dire need of.
A three-game winning streak.
Reimer made 38 saves and Huberdeau scored for the third time in 24 hours as Florida blanked the Ottawa Senators 1-0 on Saturday in the final game before the Christmas break.
The win marked the first time Florida (15-16-5) has won three straight games this season.
Making his ninth consecutive start, Reimer was rock solid for the second night after Florida beat Minnesota 4-2 on Friday.
“I’m just settling in. That’s helped me,” said Reimer, playing in place of injured starter Roberto Luongo. “When it comes down to a game like tonight with a shutout, obviously some things have to go your way. Couple of posts, couple of blocks with guys with an open net.”
The shutout was the 18th of Reimer’s career and fourth against Ottawa, and his first since last April 9 in a 2-0 win over the Capitals in the season finale in Washington.
“These are hard nights,” said Florida coach Bob Boughner. “By the third period, no matter what we said or drew up, it wasn’t working. We were out of gas, but we stuck with it. (Reimer) stepped up and made some huge saves for us.”
Nick Bjugstad and Keith Yandle had assists for the Panthers.
Mike Condon, playing in place of ill top goaltender Craig Anderson, made 37 saves for Ottawa (11-15-8).
Huberdeau had two goals in the victory over Minnesota the night before, and the former Calder Trophy winner tallied in the second period after the teams played a scoreless but up-tempo first.
Bjugstad sent a cross-ice pass over to Huberdeau as the left winger raced down the left side on a breakout pass started by Yandle.
Huberdeau fired a wrist shot that rang off the left post and beat Condon high on the blocker side at 1:36 for his 12th goal and a 1-0 lead.
“He’s playing with a lot of passion the last couple of games and winning a lot of board battles. He’s playing like a leader,” Boughner said of Huberdeau.
Reimer made a big save at 13:33 with the Panthers on the power play, stopping defenseman Erik Karlsson on a short-handed breakaway after the Norris Trophy winner stripped Huberdeau of the puck.
Ottawa had a 2-on-1 rush with Matt Duchene and leading scorer Mike Hoffman eight minutes into the third period, but Yandle slid and broke up the play.
“A shutout is a team game,” Reimer said.
The Senators enter the break having lost 15 of 18 contests and three consecutively.
“In the end, the shots were 38-38. We knew they’d come out hard. We made one mistake and it cost us. We had so much chances and rebounds in the third period to tie it up, but their goalie played great,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said.
“In the first two periods, what was missing was that crash to the net. It’s too bad we couldn’t get that one goal.”
NOTES: Ottawa scratched G Craig Anderson (illness), RW Bobby Ryan (finger), D Dion Phaneuf (birth of child), D Andreas Englund and C Zack Smith (shoulder). Smith was placed on injured reserve Friday and is expected to miss two weeks. ... LW Chris DiDomenico, promoted from AHL Belleville on Friday, played his 13th game this season for the Senators. G Danny Taylor was also recalled. ... The Senators conclude their three-game road trip at Boston on Wednesday night. ... Florida scratched LW Jamie McGinn and D Ian McCoshen. ... D Aaron Ekblad logged a career-high 29:43 time on ice and registered eight shots in Florida’s 4-2 win over Minnesota on Friday. ... The Panthers have three players near averaging a point a game — C Vincent Trocheck (35 points in 36 games), LW Jonathan Huberdeau (35 in 36) and C Aleksander Barkov (31 in 35). ... Panthers C Vincent Trocheck was hit in the chest by a slap shot in the third period and did not return. ... The Panthers improved to 8-0-0 when taking a lead into the third period. ... Florida continues its four-game homestand against Philadelphia on Thursday before closing against Montreal next Saturday.