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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Ottawa Senators

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (7-4-5) at Ottawa Senators (7-5-3)

Time 4:30 PM PT TV Sportsnet Vancouver
H2H (2014/15) Split 1 game each Last Meeting 4-3 (OT) Senators - December 7, 2014
The Enemy Silver Seven Scoring Leaders

VAN: Daniel Sedin (5-10-15)

CBJ: Mark Stone (3-12-15)

Canucks Category Senators
7-4-5 Season Record 7-5-3
19 Points 17
1st Division Position T-2nd
Won 1 Streak Lost 2
2.94 Goals For Per Game 2.93
2.44 Goals Against Per Game 3.13
13.7 Power Play % 17.4
82.2 Penalty Kill % 75.0
30.2 Shots Per Game 29.3
28.9 Shots Against Per Game 34.6


Last Game at a Glance

It was a high-scoring affair in Columbus for the Canucks on Tuesday night, but thanks to the top line, Vancouver came out on top. Jannik Hansen, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin combined for 12 points as the Canucks defeated the Blue Jackets 5-3.

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, allowing two power play goals in the first period alone. Fortunately, the Sedin and Hansen line came to the rescue, keeping the Canucks in the game all night.

Jacob Markstrom was also a stud, stopping 42 shots on the night in his season debut, earning first star honors.

That Hansen...He's So Hot Right Now

The true stars of the night against Columbus were Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Jannik Hansen. The trio combined for 12 points, accounting for four goals and eight assists. Their play on ice together was a thing of beauty, and I think this is a line we'll see stick together for a while.

Sure, Radim Vrbata came back to life once he joined the Sedins, but if Hansen and the Sedins keep playing the way they did on Tuesday night, it'll be hard to split them up. But according to Willie Desjardins, there's no guarantee that the line will stay together, because according to him, "guys have a big game and then the line seems to tail off."

Power Play Woes

The Canucks are at the midpoint of their seven-game road trip, and the numbers on the power play aren't pretty. Vancouver is 0-for-11 on the power play and now ranks 26th in the NHL on the advantage at 13.7 percent.

While Vancouver is normally strong on the penalty kill, that was also an area they struggled with in Columbus on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets scored two goals while on the power play, and what's even more impressive is how quickly they did it. Columbus spent a grand total of 15 seconds on the power play during their first two chances.

The Canucks have also surrendered shorthanded goals in back-to-back games. These struggles have proved to be costly all season long and if they can't clean it up as the year goes on, it will cost them big games down the stretch.


Last Game at a Glance

If you thought the Canucks game in Columbus featured some offense, that was nothing compared to Ottawa's last game. The Senators lost 7-5 to Nashville on Tuesday after giving up three goals in the third period.

Ottawa had two separate two-goal leads in the first period before the two sides went back and forth trading goals in the second period. With the game tied 5-5 midway through the third period, the Predators scored twice in the span of less than two minutes to take a 7-5 lead, a lead which they would hold the rest of the night.

Failing to Close Out Games

The Senators have struggled down the stretch late in games this season, and those struggles have costed them four points so far in the early part of the year. Ottawa has allowed 20 third period goals, tied for third-most in the NHL. Senators head coach Dave Cameron said the team has gotten to the point where when the game is on the line, they are trying to do too much and need to just trust the simple stuff.

Busy Goaltenders

The Senators will turn to Matt Hammond in net tonight after Craig Anderson gave up seven goals against the Predators on Tuesday night. Anderson will likely be busy in net as the Senators are giving up an average of 34.6 shots per game, the highest mark in the league. The Canucks are in the middle of the pack when it comes to getting the puck on net, averaging 30.3 shots per game, which ranks them tied for 13th in the league.