VANCOUVER -- Matt Murray made 31 saves to help the Ottawa Senators win the first of four straight games against the Vancouver Canucks, 3-0 at Rogers Arena on Thursday.
It was Murray's second shutout of the season, in the past three games, and 13th in the NHL. He is 3-1-0 in four starts since missing 14 games with an undisclosed injury.
"I'm really proud of the way that we're growing and learning and the way that we've played the last few games and the way we're trending," Murray said. "It's awesome to see. You know we're learning all the right lessons and we're definitely pushing in the right direction here. And for me, it's just awesome to see these guys competing and playing the right way and we're getting rewarded for it, so I'm really proud of the guys."
Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist for the Senators (17-26-4), who have won three straight games in regulation for the first time this season and are 4-1-0 in their past five.
"We're having a ton of fun coming to the rink every day," Batherson said. "We're playing as a team. You guys can see on the TV, we're super excited whenever anyone does something great, so I think that's the biggest thing. We want to work hard for each other and for the coaching staff."
Video: OTT@VAN: Batherson finds a loose puck and buries PPG
Thatcher Demko made 22 saves in his first start since March 24 for the Canucks (18-19-3), who lost for the first time in three games since coming back Sunday from an 18-day pause due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
"I struggled with it. It's tough on the body. The biggest thing for me were just the fatigue, the body aches and some of the brain fog stuff," Demko said. "I don't know if anyone's really at 100 percent. I know COVID took a toll on us. Obviously it's tough to take that much time off, but we've got a job to do to come in and win some games here. That's what everyone's geared towards and ready to do."
Vancouver is sixth in the seven-team Scotia North Division, 10 points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens with four games in hand. Ottawa is one point behind Vancouver but has played seven more games. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The teams play again here Saturday, and at Ottawa on Monday and Wednesday. The Canucks won their first five games against the Senators this season, outscoring them 21-7, but fell behind on two power-play goals Thursday.
"It was a different game than last time we played them," Vancouver defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "They got a couple chances and that was the difference. Thatcher played really well and we need to give him some support, especially after we gave up those two and he shut the door the rest of the way."
Tim Stutzle deflected a Nick Paul shot while cutting through the slot to make it 1-0 at 9:17 of the first period.
It was the sixth straight game the Senators scored on the power play, and their seven power-play goals in that stretch is more than they scored in the previous 18 games.
"We worked on that, we talked a lot on and off the ice to get better," Stützle said. "I mean, in the beginning we were definitely struggling, and if you have a good power play I think it always helps a lot."
Video: OTT@VAN: Stutzle deflects a shot into the net for PPG
Batherson converted a cross-crease pass by Josh Norris to make it 2-0 at 15:57.
"It's always nice to score on the power play," Batherson said. "And when you score two on the power play usually you have a good shot of winning."
Murray made his best saves in the second period, stopping Matthew Highmore on a redirect in tight at 4:03 and gloving a J.T. Miller deflection at 8:41.
"[He] just looks so under control and obviously we feed off him," Senators coach D.J. Smith said.
Connor Brown scored into an empty net at 18:30 of the third period, his 11th goal in the past 12 games
NOTES: Ottawa forward Nick Paul played one shift in the third period, but Smith said it was precautionary. "He got nicked up there at the end," Smith said. "He'll get looked at and see where he's at, but it looked like he's fine." … Stutzle has eight goals and 17 assists. The 19-year-old is the seventh player in Senators history to score 25 points as a teenager, joining Alexandre Daigle (58), Brady Tkachuk (45), Martin Havlat (42), Wade Redden (30), Radek Bonk (26) and Erik Karlsson (26). … Brown set a Senators record with his 10th goal in April. Dany Heatley scored nine in 2006, seven in the regular season and two in the playoffs. … Norris has scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in a six-game point streak.
Video: Murray stopped all 31 shots in a 3-0 win over Canucks