Hockey was the last thing most players were thinking about Monday night.
The Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers dealt with two separate delays that left a number of players shaken. Both teams were sent to their dressing rooms with 3:37 remaining in the first period as first responders dealt with a medical emergency in the stands as a fan required CPR.
The remaining time was played at the start of the second, but a second delay ensued when Vincent Trochek twisted his right leg awkwardly and required a stretcher.
“This was one of the weirder games I’ve been involved in, it was very tough,” said Senators head coach Guy Boucher. “We all knew they were trying to revive the gentleman so nobody was thinking hockey there. Our prayers are definitely with the patient and the family.”
The Panthers went on to win 7-5 with Mike Hoffman scoring the final goal to extend his point streak to 16 games. It was his first game in Ottawa since the Senators traded him in the off-season.
An ongoing legal battle between Hoffman’s fiancee and the wife of former Senators captain Erik Karlsson led to Hoffman being sent to the San Jose Sharks. Less than three hours after being dealt to San Jose he was then traded to Florida.
Hoffman’s post-goal celebration left a sour taste with his former teammates on the Senators.
“It is what it is,” said Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki. “I’m sure he wants to send a bit of a message. I might be inclined to do the same thing if I was in that situation.”
Hoffman, who has nine goals and 10 assists through the streak, admitted this last one was special.
“That was a big goal,” said Hoffman. “That I was able to do it made it that much more special to put the nail in the coffin. I was excited that I scored, but I guess other people aren’t allowed to get excited if you get a goal.”
Troy Brouwer, Aleksander Barkov, Jared McCann, Evgenii Dadonov, Micheal Haley and Frank Vatrano also scored for Florida (8-7-3). Juho Lammikko picked up four assists as James Reimer stopped 33 shots to give the Panthers their second victory over the Senators in eight days.
READ MORE: Florida Panthers crush Ottawa Senators 5-1
Matt Duchene had a pair of goals for the Senators (9-9-3), while Drake Batherson, Zack Smith and Brady Tkachuk also scored.
Craig Anderson allowed six goals on 22 shots before being replaced by Mike McKenna. McKenna gave up one goal on nine shots.
Trailing 6-3, the Senators made things interesting as Smith and Tkachuk made it a one-goal game at the halfway mark of the third. Ottawa had two power-play opportunities, but was unable to tie up the game.
“That’s the one positive to come out of the game,” said Smith. “We didn’t give up. It would have been easy to just coast through the third being down three goals, but we came in the room and we talked and we knew we could come back on these guys.”
Smith admitted it was difficult to get back into the game with the two medical emergencies bracketing the first intermission.
“We tried our best, both teams, to put both incidents behind us and play a hockey game,” Smith said. “Those are two things you never want to see.”
The Panthers made it 4-1 as Dadonov banged a puck over the goal-line with just 0.3 seconds remaining in what was the first period.
Ottawa cut the lead in half early in the second as Duchene scored his second of the game off a great feed from Batherson. Shortly after that, Batherson scored on the power play off a pass from Duchene, who has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his past seven games.
Haley, playing in his first game of the season, and Vatrano also scored to end Anderson’s night.
“It wasn’t pretty, but at the end it was a gutsy win and points we needed,” said Haley.
The Senators opened the scoring as Duchene scored his ninth of the season early in the first, but the Panthers replied with three goals to take a 3-1 lead in the shortened period.
Brouwer tied the game on a one-timer from the side of the net. A power-play goal by Barkov gave the Panthers the lead, while McCann made it 3-1 midway through the period scoring on a partial breakaway.