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Senators’ special teams carry them to 3-0 win over Canucks

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Matt Murray posted his second shutout in three games

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

In what could mostly be described as a complete win, the Ottawa Senators shut out the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. The big story of the game was the Sens’ powerplay, which went 2/4, providing the only non-empty-net goals of the game. The other big story was Matt Murray, who posted a 31-save shutout, his fourth quality start in a row since returning from injury.

After what felt like ages, but was actually just two nights off, the Sens returned to action against the Canucks, who had improbably won two games over the Maple Leafs since returning from their lengthy Covid postponement. The ‘Nucks looked nothing like that team in the first, being thoroughly outplayed by Ottawa. The Sens killed the Canucks’ lone powerplay of the period, getting the bulk of the scoring chances while shorthanded, and then went two-for-three on their own powerplays for the period. First, Tim Stützle got the fly-by tip on a Nick Paul shot past Thatcher Demko:

Later, Drake Batherson made the perfect play to corral a puck that got through Tyler Myers and roof it over Demko’s glove:

The second period had two halves. In the first half, the Canucks outshot the Sens drastically, and carried the pace of play. In the second half, the Sens appeared to be on the powerplay, regularly cycling the puck throughout the Vancouver zone to set up their shots. Both goalies were up to the task though, making some nice saves to keep the period scoreless, and the overall score 2-0.

The third period saw more back-and-forth action, with the Canucks pushing for the equalizer, and the Sens getting several odd-man rush chances. The Sens even got a chance late to bury it with a gifted powerplay, but failed to convert. It set up a tense final few minutes, but Connor Brown iced it with an empty-netter, and the Sens held down the fort for the 3-0 victory. It gave Matt Murray his second shutout in three games, after not posting one since October 2019. After a rocky start to the season, he seems to have returned from injury with confidence and skill. It’s all gearing up to be a fun end to the season for Sens fans.

Noteworthy Performances:

  • To my eyes, Erik Brännström had a great game. He made smart passes and carried the play forwards. They highlighted one time on the broadcast that he was able to box out Tanner Pearson despite the size 4” size difference. I think playing him with a solid defender in Artem Zub has done wonders for his NHL game.
  • Josh Norris looked confident all game, wanting the puck on his stick, taking good shots, directing play when he was on the ice. He’s no longer this team’s no. 1 C due to lack of competition; he is a good player.
  • Drake Batherson is a wizard with the puck on his stick, and he showed it again tonight, picking up two points, but also making several solid dekes. You know it’s a great night for the top line when I thought Brady Tkachuk was the least impressive of the three, knowing that Tkachuk never takes even a shift off.

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