Can the Canucks Dominate Ottawa for the Third Straight Time?
So this is pretty amazing. The Vancouver Canucks played three games against the Montreal Canadians, losing two of three while giving up a zillion goals. They were obviously very frustrated about it and took out their frustrations in their next two games on the Senators. The Canucks have outscored Ottawa 12-2 in the first two of three consecutive meetings between the pair of teams in Vancouver. The frustrated Canucks didn’t like the start to their season and are really trying to get back on track.
After getting pumped two games in a row, it’s tough to bet Ottawa here. Head Coach DJ Smith read his team the riot act after Monday night’s 7-1 beatdown, and they still weren’t any better on Wednesday, losing 5-1. If you’re the Senators and your coach calls you out, and you’re still not any better in a rematch following a six-goal loss, then that says something about the character and grit of Ottawa. Sure, they did pepper a lot of shots and had traffic and chances against the Canucks, but Thatcher Demko was still there. Many of the Sens shots weren’t hazardous, and they needed to get even more traffic in front of the net. They’ve got to do a better job of finding loose pucks in front of the net. You can’t just shoot the puck from a long-range distance and expect it to go in without getting those second and third chances. They’re not going to those tough areas of the ice right now, these Ottawa players. Derek Stepan signed this guy for a veteran presence, and he’s got one point and is a -6 so far. It’s been a dreadful start for Stepan with the Ottawa Senators. That’s a guy you hope can help these youngsters, and it’s not really helping right now.
Alex Edler and Jordie Benn have been playing well for Vancouver on the blue line. The last couple of games and you can see the difference when Benn’s out there. He made a couple of colossal shot blocks on the penalty kill against the Senators on Wednesday when they were really pressing. That’s just the kind of stuff you don’t get when he’s not in the lineup, so having him back on that blue line steadies the ship a little bit for Vancouver.
Maybe Ottawa digs down deep, trying to avoid an absolute three-game embarrassment against Vancouver, but the Canucks look like a different team that started the season so poorly.
It doesn’t seem like they’re going to look past Ottawa despite dominating them two games in a row. They need to get these points in the bank and take care of business in games like this. You can’t trust Ottawa. They’ve already shown they won’t respond when ripped a new one by their coach, so what can he do, rip them a bigger one? Nothing suggests the Senators’ response will be any different from last night, and that was no response. Vancouver is the no-brainer play here.