March 29, 2019 / 2:36 AM / 21 days ago

Top line guides Panthers past Senators

EditorsNote: 3rd graf, change Barkov’s first-period goal to Dadonov’s first-period goal;

Mar 28, 2019; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (72) skates wtih the puck in the first period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Florida’s top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov totaled seven points to carry the Panthers to a 5-2 win over the host Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

Huberdeau had two goals, Dadonov had a goal and two assists, and Barkov posted two helpers for the Panthers, who broke a three-game losing skid by winning for the first time on their four-game road trip (1-2-0).

Dadonov set a career high with 66 points, and Keith Yandle’s assist on Dadonov’s first-period goal was his 50th of the season, setting a Panthers record for most helpers by a defenseman. The old mark was shared by Robert Svehla (1995-96) and Brian Campbell (2011-12).

Dryden Hunt had a goal and an assist, Troy Brouwer scored, and Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo made 28 saves in the win.

Undrafted free agent defenseman Brady Keeper, 22, of the University of Maine made his NHL debut and logged 12:40 of ice time for Florida.

Keeper, who signed with the Panthers on March 18, became the first player from the indigenous Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba to play in the league.

Colin White and Brady Tkachuk scored goals, and Brian Gibbons had two assists for Ottawa, which had its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 6-15-1 in its past 22 games.

Anders Nilsson made 29 saves.

Florida’s top line produced on the first shift as Dadonov scored on the game’s first shot just 30 seconds in. Barkov fired a shot from the slot that Dadonov redirected in for his 26th goal.

However, Ottawa tied it 1-1 on a slick one-on-one move by White. The center swooped past defenseman Aaron Ekblad and roofed home his 14th goal at 12:59 of the first.

The Panthers’ fourth line put the visitors up 2-1 at 2:35 of the second period. Brouwer beat Nilsson for his 10th goal and first in 13 games.

Barkov and Huberdeau hooked up for a nifty goal at 6:31 of the second for a 3-1 lead. Barkov slowly moved in and saucered a diagonal pass to Huberdeau, who deked Nilsson and easily netted his 26th tally.

Tkachuk finished a pass from Brian Gibbons on a rush at 3:01 of the third period to make it 3-2, but Hunt and Huberdeau scored empty-net goals in the last 90 seconds to seal the win.

—Field Level Media

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