The Vancouver Canucks (31-32-10) will attempt to win three straight games for the first time since Christmas when they host the Ottawa Senators (25-41-6) tonight at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks return home after sweeping a quick two-game road trip in Dallas and Chicago. On Monday night, Bo Horvat scored his 25th goal of the season just 16 seconds into overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks. Alex Edler and Markus Granlund had the other Vancouver goals. Elias Pettersson picked up an assist on the Granlund goal setting a new franchise rookie scoring record with his 61st point of the season. Brock Boeser also had a helper on the record-setting play and is now riding a career-high seven game point streak (2+6=8) while Horvat has 2+4=6 in his past five games.
The Canucks have won back to back games for the first time since mid-January and are 3-0-1 in their last four outings. The last time they won three in a row was December 6th through the 11th over Nashville, St. Louis and Columbus.
The last three Canucks games have ended 3-2 and all have gone to overtime with two of them decided in a shootout. They fell to New Jersey in a shootout on home ice last Friday before edging Dallas in a shootout on Sunday. The Canucks have been to OT in 21 of their 73 games this season. They are 7-5 in games decided in three on three action and 4-5 in the skills competition.
After struggling on the power play for much of the second-half of the season, the Canucks are 3/13 (23.1%) in their past four games. Alex Edler scored early in the team’s only power play of the night in Chicago. With the goal, the Canucks had just four seconds of power play time in the hockey game.
After a night off in Chicago Monday, Jacob Markstrom returns to the net for Vancouver. He stopped 44 shots and four more in the shootout on Sunday in Dallas. He is 2-0-1 in his past three starts and 4-2-2 in his last eight.
The Canucks will go with the same 18 skaters they’ve used in the past two games. That means Nikolay Goldobin, Ryan Spooner, Sven Baertschi, Derrick Pouliot and Josh Teves will be healthy scratches. Travis Green says Quinn Hughes will have his injured foot re-evaluated later today while Ben Hutton (foot) is expected to resume skating in the next few days.
The Senators are here to open a three-game Western Canadian road trip that will take them to Calgary tomorrow and Edmonton on Saturday. They have won back to back games over St. Louis and Toronto. Those victories stand out as two of three over the team’s past 14 games (3-11-1). On December 1st, the Sens were 12-12-3. In 45 games since, they are 13-29-3.
With the trades of Mark Stone and Matt Duchene before last month’s deadline, injured defenseman Thomas Chabot leads the club in scoring with 49 points. Among players in the line-up tonight, Chris Tierney is the leading scorer with 9+36=45. Rookie Brady Tkachuk leads all current Senators with 16 goals. The fourth overall pick in last year’s draft is fourth among NHL rookies in goals and points (36).
Ottawa enters the night 31st in the NHL standings with 56 points in 72 games. The Sens are tied with Chicago for the most goals allowed this season (262) while surrendering the most shots in the league (36.0/game).
Former Canuck Anders Nilsson was dealt to Ottawa the day these teams met in Kanata on January 2nd. He backed up Marcus Hogberg that night. Nilsson, who turned 29 yesterday, has started 19 games since the trade going 10-9 with a 2.85 GAA, a 91.7% save percentage and a pair of shutouts. In his career, Nilsson has faced the Canucks only once – as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. He posted a 2-1 victory at Rogers Arena on October 18, 2015.
The Canucks beat the Sens 4-3 in that previous meeting with Elias Pettersson capping his first NHL hattrick with the overtime winner. The Canucks registered a season-high 45 shots on goal that night.
Former Canucks head coach Marc Crawford has guided the Sens to a 3-4-1 record since replacing Guy Boucher behind the bench on March 1st.
POSSIBLE CANUCKS LINE-UP
POSSIBLE SENATORS LINE-UP