After a lopsided loss Monday in Vancouver, Ottawa Senators coach D.J. Smith warned his players that lineup changes could be coming.
The Senators seemed to get the message, putting 23 shots on goal in the opening period of the rematch against the Canucks on Wednesday, three shy of the franchise record.
Although the Senators finished the period with only one goal, Smith called it their best 20 minutes of the season.
Alas, it didn’t last.
J.T. Miller tapped home the puck on a three-on-two breakaway just 1:16 into the second period to snap a 1-1 tie, and the Canucks coasted to a 5-1 victory. Miller and Tyler Motte each scored twice while Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko made 42 saves.
Ottawa is winless in its past six games (0-5-1) entering the finale of the three-game series Thursday night at Rogers Arena. The Senators have been outscored 12-2 in the first two games at Vancouver.
“I hate losing,” Senators forward Brady Tkachuk said. “Everyone in the room hates losing, so we’ve just got to bear down a little bit extra. We’re going to get out of this eventually. We’ve just got to stick together, which we have been, and stay positive, but the focus (Thursday) is on a win.”
Josh Norris scored the Senators’ goal, and it came on the man advantage.
“For some reason, we just find one period to fall apart and mess everything up,” said Norris, referring to the second period, when Ottawa was outscored 3-0. “We’re young, but that’s not an excuse. Just a lot of mistakes that are very preventable.”
The Canucks won back-to-back games for the first time this season after losing five of their previous six.
“The way things are going, one game at a time isn’t going to be good enough,” Demko said. “We’ve got to start stringing some together.”
Motte’s two goals gave him five this season, tying Bo Horvat for the team lead.
“It’s nice to see some goals go in, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the team winning,” Motte said.
Elias Pettersson added a goal and an assist for the Canucks, and Quinn Hughes and Jay Beagle each had two assists.
It was the first multiple-point game of the season for Pettersson, the 2018-19 winner of the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.
“I’ve got to be honest, other than a couple of goals I got, I don’t think we spent much time in their end,” Miller said of his line with Pettersson and Brock Boeser. “The team played well, but to be frank, we need to be way better as a line still. I know it looks pretty for you guys because I got some points … but our standards are higher than a couple of open nets.”
Miller credited Demko with keeping the score even in the first period.
“(Demko) keeps us in it, gives us life,” Miller said. “It (stinks) when we don’t play the way we’re supposed to start a game and they’re coming off a game where we know that they’re going to bring their best. We had to raise our compete level to match that.”
–Field Level Media
Published: 2021-01-28 08:05:39
Tags: #Senators #salvage #finale #Canucks