Pundits will slice up the season anyway they see fit, but if you look at the Vancouver Canucks over the last six games, they’re 4-1-and-1 following Tuesday night’s 6-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Despite being outshot substantially and outperformed on special teams, the Canucks managed to pull out a win. Captain Bo Horvat, absolutely red hot in a contract year and now second in the NHL with 12 goals scored, lit the lamp twice, while summer addition Ilya Mikheyev turned on his jets cutting to the net off the right wing to tie the game in the second period. Vancouver dominated the third with Conor Garland highlighting the offensive zone cycle game.
Spencer Martin made 37 saves in net for the Canucks and earned 2nd star honours behind Horvat.
Gift for Gabby
The win takes the pressure off Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau at least until Wednesday night when his club is right back at it in Montreal against the Canadiens. “Gabby” was the focus of criticism from Vancouver President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford during a radio interview on Monday. Rutherford repeatedly mentioned the team’s poor structure and systems.
It was an ugly start to the evening when Drake Batherson scored for the now 4-ane-8 Senators just 50-seconds into the game. The home team outshot Vancouver 35-16 through two periods, yet appeared to rally for their coach and themselves in the third.
“They were just determined,” Boudreau said of his charges after the game. “We knew Ottawa hadn’t won a game in awhile so they would be holding their sticks pretty tight, and our plan was to get it behind their ‘D’ and outwork them. They outworked us in the first period and they didn’t get enough to show for it, so we did, we got a couple of good goals and that set the stage.”
It set the stage for the Canucks to have to do it again, only better, at the Bell Centre.