Tkachuk ties two records in a losing cause as Senators fall against Panthers - InfoNews

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Tkachuk ties two records in a losing cause as Senators fall against Panthers

Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau scores on a sprawling Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson during second period NHL action Thursday March 28, 2019 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
March 28, 2019 - 8:33 PM

OTTAWA - Brady Tkachuk is quickly becoming the face of the Ottawa Senators.

In a rough season on and off the ice for the Senators, the rookie has been a bright spot. Tkachuk continued to do good things in a losing cause on Thursday as Ottawa fell 5-2 to the visiting Florida Panthers in a game between two teams out of playoff contention.

The fourth overall pick in last year's draft, Tkachuk scored his 20th of the season and tied a single-game franchise record with 12 shots on goal.

"Tkachuk was sensational," said interim head coach Marc Crawford. "That's as good a game I've seen from anybody, let alone a rookie, this year."

The 19-year-old Tkachuk has tied Alexandre Daigle for most goals as a teenager in a single season in a Senators uniform. With 12 shots on goal, the American also tied Jason York’s single-game franchise record set in 1999.

"We've all been excited about how he's played all year," added Crawford. "It's been a process for him. He's a very bright kid who continues to learn each and every outing. There's very few games where he doesn't give you a total committed effort."

While Tkachuk was excited to hit the 20-goal mark, he was disappointed by the loss.

"It's nice, but at the end of the day we didn't get the two points," said Tkachuk.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice to lead the Panthers (34-32-12).

Troy Brouwer, Dryden Hunt and Evgenii Dadonov also scored as Roberto Luongo made 28 saves at the Canadian Tire Centre.

With the win, the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak.

"I thought we played a lot harder defensively," said Panthers head coach Bob Boughner. "My talk before the game was not so much about x's and o's, it’s about competing and winning your one-on-one battles and I thought we did a lot more of that.”

Colin White also scored for the Senators (27-44-6), who saw their three-game winning streak on home ice come to an end. Anders Nilsson made 29 saves for the NHL's worst team.

Trailing 3-1 to start the third, the Senators made it a one-goal game on Tkachuk’s 20th of the season.

Hunt and Huberdeau each scored empty-net goals to seal the win for Florida

Tied 1-1 to start the second, the Panthers had a solid period and went in front 3-1.

Like in the first period, the Panthers scored an early goal in the second as Brouwer grabbed a rebound out front and backhanded a shot past Nilsson just two minutes in.

Less than four minutes later, Florida made it 3-1 as Huberdeau took a great pass from captain Aleksander Barkov to beat Nilsson from in close for his 26th of the season.

Florida scored 30 seconds into the game as Dadonov deflected Barkov's shot.

The Senators tied the game at the 12-minute mark as White took the puck in his own end and cut through Florida's defence to beat Luongo glove side.

While he didn't pick up a point, Florida's Brady Keeper made a significant impact in his NHL debut. The 22-year-old undrafted defenceman from the University of Maine signed with the Panthers Monday, making him the first person from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation to make it to the NHL.

"It's a dream come true," said Keeper. "I've got no words to explain how I feel. I'm just happy my parents and my whole family came down and got to see me play."

Keeper played 12:40 and had a couple of great chances late in the third as well as a couple of big hits.

"I thought he really, really performed well under the pressure," said Boughner. "Everyone remembers their first game and how many nerves you have and how tough it is to focus."

Prior to the start of the game, the Senators welcomed members of First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities and held a ceremonial puck drop. Keeper was invited to take the faceoff in place of Barkov to commemorate the event.

"It means a lot," Keeper said of taking the faceoff. "I didn’t know that was going on, but it was pretty cool I got the chance to take the faceoff. The guys yelled at me and told me to come take the faceoff so that was pretty special."

NOTES: Ottawa centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau was named as the Senators' Masterton Trophy nominee Thursday. The award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. ... Ottawa was without Zack Smith (back) for the third straight game. ... The Senators play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Florida is in Boston to meet the Bruins on Saturday

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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