VANCOUVER -- If the Ottawa Senators are going to put together another late-season push to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they can't afford to lose to teams below them in the standings, especially when they go into the third period with a lead.
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski scored his second goal of the night 4:01 into the third to tie it, and rookie Jake Virtanen scored the game-winner on the power play with 9:01 left in the Vancouver Canucks' come-from-behind 5-3 victory against the Senators at Rogers Arena on Thursday.
After their 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, the Canucks (24-24-12) have won consecutive home games for the first time since Dec. 9 and 26.
The Senators (29-27-6) were attempting to win five straight for the first time this season.
"You've got to demoralize a team that is in that kind of position they're in, and we didn't do that," said Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot, who set up Bobby Ryan's go-ahead goal with 2:35 left in the second period. "With a team like this, it was up to us to get that extra goal or be a little tighter in our own end at the start of the third period."
It was the third time in 25 attempts the Canucks came back to win after trailing entering the third period. Ottawa was 18-1-1 when leading after the second period but allowed the tying goal to a wide-open Bartkowski early in the third.
Video: OTT@VAN: Miller denies Karlsson's stuff-in attempt
"We had the lead going into the third and we just came out flat," said Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who made 31 saves. "They took momentum, and that was the night. We couldn't get the momentum back in the third and weren't able to generate much."
Emerson Etem scored twice, including into an empty net with 28.8 seconds remaining, and Ryan Miller made 27 saves for the Canucks, who are expected to be sellers prior to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.
Bartkowski had an assist on Etem's first goal, giving the low-scoring defenseman his first three-point game in the NHL.
"Career night," Bartkowski said. "If I start paying attention to [rumors that he may be traded], then I am not focusing on playing and what I need to be doing, so I don't even look at it."
Bartkowski, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, certainly didn't hurt his value against the Senators. His first goal came on a point shot that deflected off a stick and past Anderson through a crowd, but he beat Anderson cleanly from the left faceoff circle for his second of the night and the fifth goal of the season.
"[Bartkowski] had two really good shots," said Virtanen, who set up the defenseman's second goal with a cross-ice pass. "I've never seen those before."
Virtanen scored the game-winner when his cross-crease pass bounced back to him off intended target Bo Horvat, leaving the 18-year-old rookie with an empty net as Anderson was caught moving the other way for the pass.
Video: OTT@VAN: Stone notches his 20th goal of the season
"We're starting to roll a little bit," Virtanen said.
The Senators were saying the same thing coming into the game.
After a 4-1 win at the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, they were talking about trying to replicate last season's 23-4-4 run that got them into the playoffs. Now, they feel they must win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
"We've got to win," Ottawa's Mark Stone said. "I don't think we thought we were going to win the next 20 games, but one game at a time, we need to start winning. Heading into Calgary, we need to throw this one away. Other teams are winning; we've got to find a way too."
After Senators forward Mike Hoffman tied it 1-1 at 9:25 of the first period, Ottawa appeared to take the lead when Stone scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 21 seconds left in the period. The goal was waved off, though, because after Miller made the initial save, Stone hit the goaltender's pad and spun him around, causing the puck to come loose and go into the net.
Stone converted another shorthanded chance 13:02 into the second period, putting the Senators in front 2-1 when he kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and beat Miller under the glove from the left faceoff dot.
Bartkowski tied it 1:23 later with his first goal of the night, but Ryan restored the Senators lead with 2:35 left in the period, finishing off a nice play by Methot.
It didn't last long. Vancouver outshot Ottawa 15-9 in the third period and scored three times.
"It's very frustrating," Stone said. "I thought we played pretty well leading into the third period. We had a one-goal lead on the road, can't ask for much more."
Dion Phaneuf and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two assists for Ottawa.
"There's that fine line this time of year," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "I thought they were a little quicker than us tonight."
Video: Bartkowski, Etem each score swice in Canucks' win