SUNRISE, Fla. – Alex Lyon set a franchise record for saves in a regulation game and Aleksander Barkov scored twice as the Florida Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators 7-2 on Thursday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
Florida remains tied with the New York Islanders for the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference but holds the tiebreaker with more wins.
Lyon got his fifth consecutive win in place of Sergei Bobrovsky and ended with 56 saves — surpassing the regulation record of 53 set by Craig Anderson on March 2, 2008.
The record for most saves total in a game of 57 was set in a overtime loss to Detroit by Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo on Feb. 27, 2002. Lyon’s 56 saves is second all-time in Florida history.
“Things just worked out tonight. I was feeling good early and made some good-feeling saves early and that set the table for the game,” said Lyon, who has spent much of the season with Florida’s AHL team in Charlotte. “It has been great, has been awesome. I am just trying my best to handle the emotions, to stay even. I really want this team to make the playoffs and that is a motivating factor.”
Brandon Montour, Sam Reinhart, Eetu Luostarinen, Nick Cousins and Gustav Forsling also scored for Florida, which scored five goals in the second period alone.
Claude Giroux, who played for the Panthers following last season’s trade deadline, scored for the Senators who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. Ridly Greig scored late in the third for Ottawa.
The Panthers opened up to a 2-0 game with goals from Montour and Barkov. Florida made it 3-0 on a shorthanded goal from Barkov, his 22nd of the season.
Giroux scored at 4:25 to put Ottawa on the board — but it was all Florida after that.
“He was so good,” coach Paul Maurice said of Lyon. “He made some big saves in the first and it was almost good that he saw that many pucks early because it seemed everything was on net and that warmed him up. It made him feel really good.”
The Panthers got a power play goal from Reinhart at 7:48and then another from Luostarinen less than two minutes later to make it 5-1.
Ottawa drew a pair of penalties on one sequence (roughing on Aaron Ekblad and holding on Cousins) giving the Senators a two-man advantage for a full two minutes.
Florida not only killed it off — but Radko Gudas found Ekblad coming out of the penalty box with Cousins driving in for the sixth goal of the night for the Panthers.
Forsling ended the second period scoring with a blast from inside the blue line with three minutes remaining.
“We did not play our best game but (Lyon) gave us every chance to win,’’ Barkov said. “We know we have to win games to get to the playoffs and that is what we have been doing. We have another big one in two days. We really have to concentrate on that.”
NOTES: The two players who usually start in goal for both teams didn’t dress Thursday. Bobrovsky has been out since falling ill last week with Lyon going 5-0 in his place. Ottawa made Cam Talbot a healthy scratch. ... Matthew Tkachuk had assists on Florida’s first two goals giving him 105 points which surpassed his career-high of 104 set with Calgary last season. ... Brady Tkachuk, Matthew’s younger brother and captain of the Senators, was given a 10-minute game misconduct and was ejected from the game for fighting Florida defenseman Marc Staal in the second period. Staal received the same penalty. Matthew Tkachuk also left the game early, getting a 10-minute major with 7:57 remaining.
UP NEXT Senators: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Panthers: Visit Washington Capitals on Saturday night.