- Associated Press - Saturday, December 23, 2017

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - December has been a grueling endurance test for James Reimer. That reached its ultimate level on the second of back-to-back games Saturday night.

Reimer made 38 saves for his first shutout this season, Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the second period and the Florida Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators 1-0 for their third straight win.

Reimer got his first shutout since April 9 at Washington. He was playing in his ninth straight game and second in two nights after beating Minnesota 4-2 on Friday.

Reimer has been pressed into action since Dec. 4 when starter Roberto Luongo injured his lower body. He had to be at his best in the third period when Ottawa outshot Florida 18-8.

“You just have to have that killer instinct and stick with it,” Reimer said. “It’s just a matter of settling in and keeping it super simple.”

Florida coach Bob Boughner was impressed with the team’s tenacity in the offensive zone over the first 40 minutes, but then watched Reimer rise to the challenge in the third.

“We were out of gas (in the third) but we stuck with it, and that’s when (Reimer) came up huge for us. We found a way,” Boughner said. “There were a lot of great things with good motion in the offensive zone for 40 minutes (but) then our goalie had to take over.”

Ottawa backup Mike Condon stopped 37 shots, but couldn’t turn away Huberdeau when he went top shelf 1:36 into the second. Ottawa has dropped three straight.

Senators coach Guy Boucher was pleased with his team’s effort, especially in the third period when the Senators took charge offensively.

“We were going hard and crashing the net (in the third). We got so many chances and rebounds and opportunities,” Boucher said. “Their goalie played terrific, that’s clear. He made some unbelievable saves.”

Condon loved the competitive nature of the game from the defensive standpoint.

“It was fun and competitive, we just came out on the wrong end of things,” he said. “There’s a lot to be happy about in terms of what we did.”

Huberdeau sent a wrist shot past Condon after a cross-ice pass from Nick Bjugstad from just inside the blue line. Huberdeau also scored twice Friday.

“It definitely looks like we are all on the same page now,” Bjugstad said of the Panthers‘ longest winning streak this season. “It’s starting to come together and is a full team effort now.”

Florida’s best opportunity to extend the lead came with just over nine minutes remaining, when Evgenii Dadonov had a short breakaway, but his shot bounced off Condon’s right arm. Bjugstad then had a chance at a tip-in, but that grazed off Condon’s pads.

The only news of concern on an otherwise good night was Panthers center Vincent Trocheck leaving in the third period slumped over with his hand pressed against his rib cage.

Trocheck leads the Panthers in points (35) with 14 goals and 21 assists.

“He took a puck to the upper body; to the rib area,” Boughner said after the game. “He’s sore. We’ll know more after we look at the x-rays. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed.”

NOTES: Ottawa G Craig Anderson has been battling an illness, prompting the Senators to recall G Danny Taylor from Belleville of the AHL. … Senators D Dion Phaneuf missed his second game to be with wife Elisha after the birth of their daughter Zaphire on Thursday. … Huberdeau’s sister Josiane Huberdeau sang the Canadian national anthem before the game.

UP NEXT

Senators: Visit Boston on Wednesday night.

Panthers: Host Philadelphia on Thursday night.

___

More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey


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