Top Line leads the Florida Panthers over the Ottawa Senators

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers have wanted their top line to shoot the puck more, and they’ve responded in a big way over the last two games.

On Saturday, Carter Verhaeghe scored twice and Sasha Barkov ended his eight-game goal drought in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Matthew Tkachuk, going for the 16th of his career against his younger brother Brady, had two assists before Anton Lundell slid a pass into the empty net in the dying seconds.

Overall, the Panthers won 58 shots on goal with 84 shot attempts.

Florida’s top trio finished the night with 16 of those official shots on goaltender Anton Forsberg. ‘

“That line was really, really good,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.

“There’s a bit more playmaking and netfront [ability] and Matthew is wearing an incredible set of hands. He can play in a small area and that takes the pressure off him. You see Carter at full speed more often and you see the same with Sasha.”

For daily Florida Panthers coverage all year round, get your Florida Hockey subscription now!

Like Florida’s top line against the Senators, Florida needed a goal from defenseman Brandon Montour to tie the game at 3-3 with 3:32 left.

Verhaeghe, Barkov and Tkachuk had a piece of all five goals.

Tkachuk had two assists and an empty-net goal in his first game against his brother Brady since joining the Panthers — and their division — this summer.

Brady Tkachuk ended the game with an own goal.

Get FHN+ today!

“I love playing against him – it’s one of the biggest honors for me to see him play in the NHL,” Matthew said.

“I’m so proud of him. I am his biggest fan and he is my biggest. We’re very proud and we love that part, but at the end of the day we’re going to be two teams fighting for the playoffs against each other for years to come, so that part can be a little bit of a detriment to the family.”

Verhaeghe opened the scoring with a laser snap shot over the slot off a masterful spin pass from Tkachuk at 7:59 of the first period.

After White drew a holding penalty on a high-danger scoring chance, members of that top line went back to work on the power play.

Barkov ended an eight-game season-opening scoring streak with a wrist shot that beat Anton Forsberg 8:06 into the first period.

“Whenever you score in every game, you feel confident that every shot you take is going to go in,” Barkov said.

“It wasn’t like that right now. I didn’t feel that way with every shot. I’m happy that the monkey is off my back and I can finally get back to scoring goals.”

It was Florida’s first power-play goal at home, ending a 0-12 run in four games at FLA Live Arena to start the season.

After a first period in which the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead and dominated in shots (26-4), scoring chances (14-3) and high-danger chances (7-1), the Senators jumped out to hot weather. start to the second.

Shane Pinto hit a layup from Claude Giroux to cut Florida’s lead in half with a power play 37 seconds into the frame.

Brady Tkachuk got in on the action less than three minutes later with a breakaway goal to tie the game.

Ottawa appeared to take the lead when Tim Stutzle’s shot bounced off Verhaeghe’s skate and in, but it was pulled out of bounds after the Panthers successfully challenged it for a goaltender.

After video review, it was determined that Jake Sanderson interfered with Spencer Knight’s ability to make a shot before Stuzle’s shot penetrated the net.

Verhaeghe restored Florida’s lead with a blistering slap shot from the top of the right circle for a layup with 36.5 seconds left in the second period.

Matthew Tkachuk appeared to push Florida’s lead back to two goals at 11:01, but it was pulled out of bounds on a successful save by the Ottawa goaltender.

He was ruled to be in Forsberg’s way when he caught the rebound of Gus Fosling’s shot.

Less than three minutes later, Nick Holden tied the game with a wrist shot in heavy traffic.

Montour put the Panthers back on top for good with a burst from the point with 3:32 left.

Tkachuk finished with an empty net goal with 13 seconds left.

Florida finished the game with a 58-26 advantage in shots, while Knight stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced.


1. Brandon Montour, Florida (game-winning goal, assist)

2. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida (empty net goal, two assists)

3. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida (two goals)



  • When: Tuesday, 10 p.m
  • Where: Arizona State Mullett Arena, Tempe
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Stream Panthers Radio: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • Regular Season All-Time Series: Arizona is 19-16-2, 3 ties


Leave a Comment