VANCOUVER, BC – After a stirring rendition of the Canadian National Anthem, the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks got to business in the 2014 Heritage Classic in BC Place. With the retractable roof closed on the BC Place due to threat of rain, the game got underway with the same atmosphere in the cavernous football stadium.
The Canucks had the first big opportunity of the game with the Senators taking a penalty on Colin Greening.
At 4:54 of the first, Vancouver cashed in on the man advantage with a goal from Jason Garrison, his 7th of the year.
Zack Kassian added to the Vancouver lead at 11:27 on an unassisted marker to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead.
Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was victimized by a poor defensive effort on the first two goals.
Eddie Lack got the start in the Canucks net much to the chagrin of Roberto Luongo who voiced some dissatisfaction with the decision on Saturday night.
“I have to make decisions each and every time right now, with such short strokes, on what’s going to give us the best chance to win,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said. “Eddie was playing lights out in the games he’s played. He has been very good all year long. He deserved to play this game.”
The Senators came back to cut the lead to one with a goal from Clarke MacArthur at 15:15. The goal came off a shot from the high slot near the top of the right circle that beat Lack cleanly.
The Canucks took a bad penalty to and the Senators buried the chance when defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up his 16th of the season on the power play to get the game back to even. The goal came at 17:03 and MacArthur picked up his second point of the game with the lone assist.
The Canucks outshot the Senators 12-10 through the first twenty.
“I still think we’re trying to find our way offensively to make the next big play,” Tortorella said. “With Danny going out, that hurt me a little bit as far as some of the line combinations. … First 10 minutes of the first period was good, but I thought our third period was our best period of the game. We just don’t convert; our power play doesn’t work. Couldn’t crawl back into it.”
The second period was mostly uneventful until the Senators’ Cody Ceci gave Ottawa a 3-2 at 10:11. The goal prompted derisive chants from the hometown fans of “We want Lou”.
Even the atmosphere of the game itself the energy in the match dissipated in the third period as the clubs seemed to go through the motions. The Senators tacked on a late empty net goal to seal the 4-2 win.
“We have to keep winning,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “If you want to get in, you have to win. We have to get ready for the next game. … We have to turn around [Monday] and go to Edmonton and get ready to play another difficult opponent. We go day-by-day, game-by-game. We still think we’re going to like where we are after 82 games.”
Much of the win was taken out the Canucks sails when Daniel Sedin went down behind the Senators cage in the second period. He was hit into the boards on an otherwise routine heavy hit. But he grabbed his right hamstring and lay on the ice for extended period of time before being helped off the ice. He did not return.
Vancouver remains in the funk they were mired in prior to the break and now are desperate for wins and points.