Canucks look to further Senators’ slump

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After opening a four-game trip on a positive note, the Vancouver Canucks look to continue their recent run of overall success.

The Canucks aim for a third consecutive victory while trying to hand the host Ottawa Senators a fifth straight loss on Thursday night.

In the mix for the Pacific Division title, Vancouver is playing like a squad poised to end a four-year playoff drought. The Canucks showed their mettle by overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime at Montreal on Tuesday.

Tyler Toffoli scored his third goal in three games with the Canucks at 1:35 into overtime against the Canadiens to end a three-game road skid and get a key eastern stretch off on the right foot.

Vancouver also scored twice on the power-play to increase its total to 53 such goals on the season — among the most in the league.

“We pulled together as a group and just kind of chipped away,” Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko, who made 37 saves Tuesday, told “A good way to start the road trip, hopefully we can have some better starts.”

Demko (11-6-2, 2.93 goals-against average as a starter) likely will get more time in net with starter Jacob Markstrom out with a lower-body injury. However, recently acquired veteran netminder Louis Domingue, 3-8-2 with a 3.94 goals-against average as a starter for New Jersey this season, could make his debut Thursday.

Demko stopped 40 shots and Vancouver used four first-period goals to win its fourth straight over Ottawa, 5-2 on Dec. 3. Tyler Ennis and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each scored for the Senators in that contest, but both were traded away prior to Monday’s deadline.

Those remaining on the Ottawa roster failed to hold a 2-1 first-period lead in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at Nashville, dropping the team to 0-3-1 over the last four games. Veteran netminder Craig Anderson made 33 saves but allowed at least three goals for a fifth straight start.

Teammate Marcus Hogberg, who has a 4.61 goals-against average during his current 0-2-1 stretch, allowed a goal on 14 shots in relief at Vancouver in December.

While the Senators said goodbye to some key contributors on Monday, they welcomed back veteran forward Bobby Ryan a day later. In his first action since Nov. 16, Ryan, who was in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, recorded four shots in over 15 minutes against the Predators.

“Really nice to be back in competition mode,” Ryan told

“A win would’ve been really nice, but there were some highs and lows in the game for me.”

Ryan has just one goal with three assists in 17 games this season, but owns 32 points in 31 career contests against Vancouver. Teammate Brady Tkachuk has gone four games without a point since totaling seven over the previous four.

Vancouver’s Bo Horvat, who secured his fourth straight season with at least 20 goals, has one with an assist in each of the last two games. Rookie teammate Quinn Hughes, meanwhile, recorded his 50th point on Tuesday. The star defenseman has 23 points over his last 23 games.

–Field Level Media

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