Sweeping a three-game series against the Ottawa Senators has refreshed the Vancouver Canucks outlook as the squad heads back out on the road.
“It was a great win. It’s not easy to beat a team after you’ve beaten them twice. Their team was extremely hungry tonight,” said Canucks coach Travis Green.
Brock Boeser had two goals and an assist in the victory, extending his record of big showings in games against goalie Matt Murray.
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“Definitely I’ve had some success against him. I can’t tell you what it is, just shooting the puck and it’s going in the net right now. So it’s good,” said the right-winger, who now has nine points (six goals, three assists) this season.
Boeser’s first of the night came 5:30 into the game after Ottawa’s Austin Watson was called for interference. The Sens winger vocally protested the call with some colourful language as he headed to the box.
The Canucks top power-play unit settled in with some patient passing around the perimeter before Boeser muscled his way around Ottawa defender Josh Brown and buried a wrist shot from the top of the crease.
Elias Pettersson scored and had an assist for Vancouver, while Tanner Pearson tallied a goal and Quinn Hughes chalked up two assists.
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For the third game in a row, the Senators outshot the Canucks, this time by a margin of 36-to-25.
Vancouver netminder Braden Holtby weathered the onslaught, making 35 saves and tallying an assist.
Green said he and his staff are keeping tabs on the number of chances the team concedes.
“We gave up a fair amount of shots. I’d like to cut them down,” he said. “We also played a team that throws a lot of pucks at the net, they go to the net hard. We gave up some shots on the power play the last few games. But it’s something that we have our eye on, for sure.”
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The number of shots a goalie faces can be misleading, Holtby said, giving credit to his teammates for limiting the number of options opponents have had on a given shot in recent games.
“I think from the west to the east, the style of game is a little different in terms of quantities. And our division is a mixture of both, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out,” said the former Washington Capitals goalie.
Seeing different teams is one of things that Holtby said excited him about joining the Canucks in free agency.
“You get a little sick of seeing Pittsburgh every week,” the former Washington Capital said with a grin.” It’s fun and there’s a ton of talent in this division, especially. So it’s a lot of fun to challenge yourself against that.”
At the other end of the ice, Murray stopped 21-of-25 shots as Ottawa dropped its seventh game in a row.
Despite the final result, Sens coach D.J. Smith liked much of what he saw Thursday.
“We played the right way. I thought we played winning hockey,” he said. “We didn’t win tonight but that’s our best effort of the three games for sure. … If we play that hard every night we’re going to start to win games.”