|Canucks look to bounce back vs. slumping Sens|
After splitting a weekend home-and-home with the Pacific Division-leading Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks continue their five-game homestand on Tuesday night against the slumping Ottawa Senators.
The Canucks began Monday's action in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference despite Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Oilers. The defeat came on the heels of a grueling six-game, 12-day road trip that started with a 6-1 loss at Dallas and also included stops in Nashville, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and finally Saturday night in Edmonton.
Little wonder then the team showed signs of fatigue in Sunday's night homestand opener against the Oilers, who pulled it out with a pair of Leon Draisaitl power-play goals after Josh Leivo had put the Canucks in front 2-1 midway through the second period.
"I thought we looked a little tired in the third," head coach Travis Green told the Vancouver Sun. "We had about a seven-minute gap where I could tell guys were changing fast and were a bit tired. That's not an excuse. I thought we skated well in the first period and could easily have been up."
Vancouver went 3-3 on the road trip which also included wins over the Predators (6-3) and Capitals (2-1 in a shootout) before ending it on a high note with a 5-2 victory at Edmonton on Saturday.
"That was a long road trip, and to finish on a back-to-back, the team battled hard and showed a lot of effort," Leivo told NHL.com.
"Five-on-five, I thought we were pretty good," Green added. "We didn't give up a lot. Neither team did. Their power play was the difference."
After a day off to finally unpack, the Canucks now host an Ottawa team riding a four-game losing streak during which it has been outscored 13-4. The Senators, who had won five of six before the current losing skid, last played at Calgary on Saturday and lost 3-1.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his 14th goal of the season to tie that contest at 1-1 with 5:11 left in the third period but Elias Lindholm scored the game-winner just 61 seconds later.
"We're obviously trying to get back to winning some hockey games," Pageau told NHL.com. "We want to get back to getting that vibe, that swagger of winning hockey games. I think that's what we're trying to build right now, keep building our identity and our culture. I like that everyone is pushing in the same direction right now."
Pageau will no doubt be sorry to see the calendar flip to December. He scored 11 goals in November, just two off the team record for goals in a month of 13 set by Daniel Alfredsson in November of 2005.
"I'm just trying to play within our game plan, keep things simple, shoot the puck," Pageau, who has also scored 10 times on the road, said. "Right now, it's going in. I'm trying to keep shooting. It's obviously good for the confidence right now."
Now the Senators, who are just 4-10-1 on the road this season, need some other players to step up.
"We're getting our chances, I think," said defenseman Thomas Chabot after the loss to the Flames. "We play a good defensive game right now. One thing we've got to do is maybe put more traffic in front of the net and as d-men get our shots through a little bit more to help our forwards get a couple greasy ones in front."
--Field Level Media