The last time the 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."

Horachek will sleep easier after Thursday's return to the scene of that inglorious debut. A power-play goal by Tom Gilbert with 2 1/2 minutes remaining broke a tie and Tomas Kopecky's shorthanded goal sealed a 4-2 victory over the Senators.

It extended the Panthers' winning streak to five games — the third on this Canadian trip — their longest since March 2012 and their seventh win in eight games.

"It's contagious when you're winning. We started off the year obviously not the way we wanted to, but it just keeps buliding for us. We've got this feeling. We know what works now and it's given us a great chance every night," said Gilbert, who also assisted on an earlier goal.

The defenseman took a cross-ice pass from Tomas Fleischmann and drilled it past Panthers nemesis Craig Anderson on the short side for his second goal of the season.

"Just a great pass," Gilbert said of the feed from Fleischmann, who found him creeping into the left circle. "I think what happened, they had two guys in front of the net. I think that just took a lot of focus away from some of the guys."

The win was a rarity in this chamber of horrors, a source of considerable anguish for the Panthers. They hadn't won here since Jan. 9, 2010.

There were some tense moments remaining as Mike Weaver was whistled for tripping soon after the go-ahead goal. But Kopecky stole the puck and removed all doubt on a breakaway with the Panthers' first shorthanded goal of the season — every other team but Phoenix had scored at least one.

Scott Clemmensen stopped 32 shots for his fourth win in four starts filling in for injured Tim Thomas, who is eligible to come off injured list for Friday's finale of the four-game trip at Winnipeg. Horachek said Thomas is close in his recovery from a groin injury but that the veteran might be given extra time until the Panthers return home Monday against Tampa Bay.