Thursday was a busy day for the Senators and Canucks. The day started with a morning unveiling of both teams' heritage classic jerseys. In the afternoon came the news that the much-maligned Jared Cowen would finally be a healthy scratch (along with partner Patrick Wiercioch) and that Craig Anderson would get the start after playing in Washington the previous evening. The first period opened with some back-and-forth play between the squads with a Joe Corvo solo rush the highlight of the first few minutes. Mark Borowiecki and Dale Weise fought, with the advantage going to Borocop and his left fist. After some nice pressure from the trio of Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Mika Zibanejad the Senators first line notched Ottawa's first goal of the game. After a pass from Marc Methot at his own blue line, Clarke MacArthur drove through the neutral zone and on entering Vancouver's zone took a few looks at linemates Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan. Having planting the pass in the minds of the Canucks, MacArthur wristed a shot top shelf on Roberto Luongo and put the Sens ahead with the 100th goal of his career. Late in the period Vancouver's Brad Richardson took a tripping penalty, giving Ottawa their first power play of the game. Twice in quick succession Karlsson gave the puck up to Ryan Kesler, but used his speed to recover both times. The Sens weren't able to convert on the power play and the period finished 1-0. It was one of Ottawa's better starts to a game this season and when he was tested, Andy looked much better than the previous night in Washington.
The second period started with a bang after a nice zone entry by the Turris line. Bobby Ryan made an excellent pass back to Turris, who fired a blistering shot at Luongo. The puck hit the Vancouver netminder's neck and he lay on the ice for a few minutes before resuming play. 15 seconds later, the Sedin twins evened the score, after a recovered dump-in led to Daniel Sedin's 300th career goal. The dump in could have been played better by the Methot-Karlsson. 45 seconds later, the Canucks took the lead after a faceoff win in the Ottawa zone made its way to David Booth, who put a wrist shot past Craig Anderson, who was not set for the shot. Andy needs - and should - make that save and didn't. To make matters worse, Chris Neil took Ottawa's first penalty of the game, a needless roughing minor drawn by Zack Kassian. Turris and MacArthur had an excellent shorthanded chance, but couldn't convert. Shortly after, Canucks defender Jason Garrison notched his third goal of the season on snap shot from just outside the circle. In less than 4 minutes, Vancouver exploded for 3 goals and Ottawa's solid start was forgotten. MacLean could have pulled Andy after 3 goals, but elected to keep him between the pipes. It was a mistake. Midway through the period, Dale Weise worked against Eric Gryba in front of the net and after Gryba made contact with Anderson who went down with an apparent injury, Weise put a wrist shot past the prone goalie. Coach Paul MacLean definitely should have pulled Anderson at that point, but Andy remained in the net. A minute later, Andy took a knee to the head in a scramble at the side of the net and stayed down for a few seconds. It was at this point that MacLean made the goalie swap. A Chris Neil hit in the Vancouver end led to a roughing penalty for the Sens winger and a fight between Neil and Tom Sestito. The Sens managed to pressure the Canucks for the final few minutes of the period and Mika Zibanejad capitalized on it. Zibanejad put a backhand past Luongo with a minute left in the period and the Sens went into the second intermission down by 2.
Early in the third period, Colin Greening had an excellent opportunity to get the Senators within one goal, but put the puck wide. Within a minute, Vancouver had increased their lead to 3. If there's one hole in Robin Lehner's game at this point, it's his stickhandling ability. He wasn't able to handle the puck cleanly and Karlsson and Spezza struggled to clear it as well. Mike Santorelli threw a wrist shot at the net and it managed to squeak behind Lehner. After the Santorelli goal, Vancouver saw the win out for the rest of the third period. Vancouver wins 5-2. Shots 39-28 in favour of Ottawa.
Sens Hero: Mika Zibanejad
Zibanejad had a great game. More and more he looks like a dominant power forward. He had some big hits, a few chances, and a goal. He looked good on Spezza's wing and hopefully that's a good omen for the captain.
Honourable Mention: Joe Corvo and Chris Phillips
I was a little that worried elder statesmen Corvo and Phillips wouldn't be able to put in the same kind of effort against the Canucks that they did against the Capitals on back-to-back nights. But they did. Neither defender was on the ice for a goal against and Corvo provided some offensive jump and notched an assist.
Honourable Mention: Clarke MacArthur
MacArthur had a strong game, driving possession and controlling Ottawa's entries into the Vancouver end. He also had a nice goal, using a great shot to beat Luongo top shelf.
Sens Zero: Craig Anderson
The second goal was pretty bad. He stopped only 11 of 15 shots. His save percentage was .733. It was unreasonable to expect he would repeat his numbers from last year, but he's playing below his career average right now. He's playing below league average right now. He got bumped around. He's had a tough start to the season and it didn't get better tonight. Anderson is in the middle of his toughest stretch in a Sens uniform, hopefully he turns the corner soon and that he wasn't injured during the game.
Sens Zero: Chris Neil
Chris Neil had all the Sens penalties in the second period. The real problem was the roughing minor he took against Zack Kassian 3 minutes into the second. Ottawa had just given up two quick goals and goalie and team looked a little rattled. Neil's veteran leadership is often touted as one of the assets he brings and he illustrated a complete lack of veteran leadership by engaging with Kassian. It wasn't a penalty he needed to take to prevent or goal or a minor that occurred during the course of play. Vancouver scored on the resulting power play, and that was basically the game.
Sens Zero: Paul MacLean
Andy didn't have a great game last night but MacLean went back to him anyway for the game against the Canucks. It was the wrong decision. There's lots of evidence to suggest starting goalies in back-to-back games is a bad idea, but MacLean painted himself into a corner by giving Lehner back-to-back starts on the weekend. He also left Andy in net too long.
Sens Killer: Roberto Luongo
Luongo was strong in net for the Canucks and faced a lot of rubber. He faced 39 shots and made 37 saves. Took two hard shots off his neck courtesy of Kyle Turris but stayed in the game and didn't seem bothered by the action. With a lesser performance from Luongo, this could have been a very different game.
Shot chart: via ESPN
Highlights: maybe later