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Struggling Canucks start road trip against Senators

by Brian Compton

CANUCKS (12-9-5) at SENATORS (10-11-4)


Last 10: Vancouver 2-4-4; Ottawa 5-5-0

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators. They will play each other March 2 at BC Place in the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic.

Big story: The Canucks begin a three-game road trip Thursday with hopes of avoiding a three-game winless streak. Vancouver has scored more than two goals once in its past eight games. Ottawa returns to Canadian Tire Centre after winning twice on its three-game trip.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver's woes continued Monday when it dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings to close a six-game homestand. The Canucks picked up one victory, 6-2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets last Friday.

Vancouver held a 2-1 lead late in the third period Monday, but Mike Richards tied it with 2:54 left in regulation before Anze Kopitar won it 48 seconds into overtime.

"I thought it was one of our better games of the year," coach John Tortorella said after practice Wednesday. "We just didn't finish the game. Gotta play the full 60 minutes and a couple of details got away from us.

"I thought we practiced really well today. I think the spirits are good. It's something as far as a coaching staff we need to watch. I think that's the most important thing with our team right now, is to watch [if we're fragile], because quite honestly I think a lot of our game is good. But our mindset is an important. We've been in this little jam here for a little while."

Senators: Ottawa showed some grit Wednesday when it rallied from a two-goal deficit and earned a 6-4 victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Bobby Ryan scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season, and Erik Karlsson had two assists.

The Senators trailed 3-1 after the first period, but got goals from Chris Phillips and Colin Greening in the second. Zack Smith scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with 2:23 left in regulation.

"I think there certainly were a lot of angry people in there," Senators coach Paul MacLean said of his team's attitude in the dressing room during the first intermission. "At the same time, I thought there was a lot of solution as well within that. As far as being angry, I thought it ended up being more intense and focused on the structure of our game and the work ethic that is needed for our game to work.

"I thought that ended up being the difference in the game. Not anger, but intensity. Not frustration, but intensity."

Who's hot: Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has four goals in his past five games. … Ryan has three goals and an assist in the past three games. Karlsson has points in six of his past seven games. He is 1-7-8 over that span.

Injury report: The Canucks are still without forward Jordan Schroeder (ankle). … Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki (strained neck) is close to returning.

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