It was another rough night for the Ottawa Senators as they lost their fifth straight game, this time to the Vancouver Canucks. This was despite the return of Timothy Stützle, who had missed the previous 3 games due to a nagging injury.
By Zach Mulder
Brandon Sutter opened the scoring for Vancouver nine and half minutes in. Murray coughed up a bad rebound, Gudbranson took the man instead of the puck, and Sutter managed to flick it over Murray on his backhand while falling over. Tyler Motte made it 2-0, and the Sens went into the break down two.
Austin Watson got one back for Ottawa to start the second, but 30 seconds later Pearson made the lead three again. Sutter would add another in the second and complete the hat-trick in the third. Hughes and Juolevi would also add one each in the third and Demko shut the door the rest of the way, ending the game 7-1.
For the Sens, it was a disappointing loss against another team having a rough start to their season. The Canucks were 2-5-0 coming into the game and a win could have served as a much needed reset for Ottawa. Instead, the Sens fall to 1-4-1 while not having looked particularly good in the past handful of games.
Coach D.J. Smith was not pleased with the effort of the group, and sounded prepared to make changes to the lineup before Wednesday’s rematch against the Canucks. “We’ve got to give some other guys some opportunity to see if they want to play a little harder than some of the guys that are playing now,” said Smith after the game.
One area of improvement for the Sens against Vancouver was discipline. The Sens were only short-handed three times, tied for their lowest yet this season. Their powerplay was unfortunately a different story. Ottawa went 0-5 on the man advantage and allowed their first short-handed goal of the year.
Monday night was Murray’s worst start in a Sens uniform. His rebound control wasn’t good, and pucks he was stopping to start the season found their way through. He also was not helped much by the team in front of him. Combine those two factors and it’s little wonder why the game was rough almost from the opening horn.
The Sens will have a chance to bounce back on Wednesday as they face the Canucks in the second of three games in a row against each other. It will be interesting to see if tensions rise, as Austin Watson and Antoine Roussel were at each other for most of the night, culminating in two fights in the last seven minutes of the game.