Canucks vs. Senators Preview
OTTAWA, Ont. - The Vancouver Canucks look to rebound after having their six-game winning streak snapped in their last contest.
To do so, they'll need to overcome an Ottawa Senators team working on a streak of its own.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Senators –110 money line favorites in Thursday's game against the Canucks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 100% of more than 98 bets for this game have been placed on the Senators.
Ottawa seeks its fifth straight victory and seventh in eight games when it hosts Vancouver on Thursday night.
The return of forward Jason Spezza has only contributed to the Senators' recent success. Spezza had two goals and an assist in Tuesday's 5-2 win against Atlanta, playing in his fifth game since sitting out four with a groin injury.
Since returning Oct. 30, he's registered three goals and four assists while Ottawa has gone 4-1-0.
"I'm excited to get playing," Spezza said. "Our line is starting to get some chemistry. (Alex Kovalev) is playing real well and we hope to build off that."
Coach Cory Clouston said while Spezza's presence is a benefit for the Senators (8-6-1), others have played a role in Ottawa's run.
"(Spezza) is a big part of our team and what it does is alleviates pressure from other lines and puts a little bit more focus on him," Clouston said. "But right now we've got contributions from a lot of other guys and it's nice to see."
Brian Elliott stopped 35 shots against the Thrashers and he's started all four games during the winning streak, posting a 1.75 goals-against average.
Chris Neil and Jesse Winchester scored their first goals Tuesday, and Sergei Gonchar's goal gave him a point in six of his last seven games.
Vancouver opened a five-game road trip Tuesday night with a 2-0 loss to Montreal. The Canucks were held scoreless for the first time since Nov. 22, when they lost 1-0 to Chicago.
Roberto Luongo made 27 saves in losing for the first time in five starts.
"It's always disappointing to lose, that's first and foremost," Luongo said. "It's the first game of our road trip and we really wanted to get off to a good start so it's going to be important to regroup (Wednesday), have a good practice and come ready to play against the Senators."
Luongo began his career 1-11-0 with a tie against Ottawa but has won his last five starts with a 1.98 GAA.
Vancouver (8-4-2) has one of the top-ranked power plays in the NHL but went 0 for 4 against the Canadiens. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were both held without a point in the same game for the first time since March 18.
"We weren't moving the puck the way we should or getting guys in front of the net," Daniel Sedin said. "We just weren't hungry enough, especially on the power play."
Vancouver's third line of Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen combined for 19 goals during the winning streak and all were held without a point for the first time in seven games.
These teams split two games last season, and the Canucks have won five of six meetings dating to the start of the 2005-06 season.