OTTAWA -- The last time the Florida Panthers visited the Canadian Tire Center they were riding on two flats.
Peter Horachek had just replaced fired coach Kevin Dineen. Two minutes into his first game behind the bench on Nov. 9, his team trailed 2-0.
"Holy cow, I looked up there and said, 'This can't be true,'" Horachek said Thursday. "It's a nightmare right now. I'm trying to wake up from that one."
A power-play goal by Tom Gilbert with 2 1/2 minutes remaining will enable Horachek to have more pleasant dreams after a 4-2 victory. Gilbert took a cross ice pass from Tomas Fleischmann and drilled it past Craig Anderson on the short side.
A short-handed goal by Tom Kopecky iced the Panthers' fifth consecutive win -- the third on this Canadian trip -- is their longest since March 2012.
Scott Clemmensen stopped 32 shots for his fourth win in four starts filling in for injured Tim Thomas.
Five weeks after the rocky start to the Horachek era, the host Senators were cast as Team Turmoil. After getting chewed out by their general manager and lambasted by their coach following a lackluster loss Wednesday at New Jersey, the Senators had the motivation to overcome any fatigue from the night before.
The Panthers picked it up in the third period for a rare win in this building, the previous one coming Jan. 9, 2010.
If the result had gone the other way, Horachek's dreams would have been haunted by a controversial goal midway through the first period that was at first disallowed by officials on the ice but allowed by the replay crew in Toronto.
Clemmensen stopped Clarke MacArthur's shot from the top of the left circle but the rebound deflected off Chris Neil's skate into the net.
The ruling was that Neil didn't make a kicking motion. The Panthers had a goal taken away from Brad Boyes in similar circumstances Sunday in Montreal.
"I was trying to whack it in with my stick," Neil said. "It hits my skate and goes in. I'll take it."
Senators captain Jason Spezza put Ottawa ahead with 29 seconds remaining in the period on a highlight-reel move, dancing around and all but disrobing rookie defenseman Dylan Olsen during a power play.
The Panthers tied it with slick teamwork late in the second period when Tom Gilbert wristed a flying-saucer pass to Alexsander Barkov, who was camped in front of the net. Barkov deflected it in with the blade of his stick for his sixth goal, just as they practice at the end of every workout.
The Panthers scored first for the third time on the trip 5 1/2 minutes in as Shawn Matthias set up Jimmy Hayes with a beauty of a centering pass. Matthias grabbed a loose puck that deflected off Krys Barch's stick and streaked down the left wing. Hayes beat Anderson low on the left side for his fourth goal since coming in the trade with the Blackhawks for Kris Versteeg.
Clemmensen made a tough save in the opening minutes and was solid throughout.
The Panthers had a great chance early off a hard slap-shot by Mike Weaver, but Huberdeau couldn't get the rebound past Anderson. Then Barkov set up Bergenheim with a centering pass on the doorstep but Anderson slapped away the backhand.
The trio of B's line -- Barkov, Bergenheim and Brad Boyes -- continued to create chances. But getting the puck past the stone wall known as Anderson is always a frustrating mission for the Panthers. Anderson was 10-1-1 against his former team before Thursday.
Anderson stood up to several scoring chances on a second-period power play. The best came when Nick Bjugstad jumped on a rebound of a Dmitry Kulikov shot to the right of the net. Anderson laid a pad on the ice to thwart Bjugstad.
The Panthers failed on their first two power-play chances. They came into the game 5-of-18 on power-play chances on the road.
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