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Senators lose ugly to Canucks as winless streak reaches six games

Canucks 5, Senators 1

The Ottawa Senators took another one on the chin Wednesday night.

The Senators saw their winless streak extended to six straight (0-5-1) after the dropped an ugly 5-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 of this series on the road at Rogers Arena.

And, the Senators don’t have much time to get back up off the mat as they close out this three-games series Thursday night before moving onto Edmonton .

Only rookie centre Josh Norris was able to solve Thatcher Demko on the 43 shots he faced.

Making his second start of the season, Marcus Hogberg didn’t have much in the way of help as J.T. Miller led the attack with a three-point effort and two goals from Tyler Motte while Elias Pettersson also chipped in with a two-point effort.

The Senators have now been outscored 12-2 in their last two games against the Canucks and Ottawa hasn’t been able to put together 60 minutes.

Coming off a 7-1 loss to the Canucks Monday, the Senators were determined to bounce back from that effort in Game 2 of this series. Coach D.J. Smith delivered on his promise to the changes by inserting centre Colin White and defenceman Braydon Coburn while winger Cedric Paquette returned from injury.

But, Smith warned he didn’t expect the Canucks to back down and he wanted to see a better compete level from his team because the Senators weren’t hard enough to play against in Game 1.

He couldn’t have been more correct. The Senators got off a good start, but couldn’t finish and when they had chances Demko was there to shut the door.

“You can ask anybody in the room, losing sucks and nobody wants to lose,” said alternate captain Brady Tkachuk. “We played a heck of a first period. We’ve just got to keep learning but at the end of the day we’ve just got to play better. That’s on us. We’ve just got to play better.

“The good thing is we play (Thursday).”

The issue is the Senators are making glaring defensive errors in their own zone and they’re turning out to be costly by ending up the back of the net.

For the first 20 minutes, the Senators looked like they were going to be more difficult to play against than they were Monday. But, they came apart at the seams in the second as the Canucks scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-1 leas as Ottawa was outshot 20-7 by Vancouver.

“We’ve put together a period at a time or two periods at a time but it seems like for some reason we find one period where we mess everything up and kind of fall apart,” said Norris. “We’re young but that’s not an excuse. There’s just a lot of mistakes that are preventable and that’s the frustrating part.

“We just have to learn from it and move on. It’s not really how we envisioned the start of the year to go. That’s how it’s played out. We can’t change that now. We have to look ahead to the next game.”

You didn’t get any sense the Senators would be able to dig themselves out of the hole they’d dug for themselves. Blueliner Mike Reilly was minus-3 and struggled mightily.

Petterson’s second of the season on the power play with Thomas Chabot in the box gave Vancouver the comfortable three-goal lead at 17:16 of the second. No, it wasn’t a surprise Hogberg made the start, but unlike Demko he couldn’t shut the door with the Ottawa defence collapsing in front of him.

Miller’s second of the game came at 7:28 of the second. First, he deflected Jordie Benn’s shot from the point then he collected the rebound and fired it by Hogberg. All of a sudden, the Senators found themselves down 3-1 and being completely outplayed after a strong start to this game.

The Senators weren’t pleased on Miller’s first of the game  that gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead only 1:16 into the second. Miller appeared to force Reilly to turn over the puck with a hook that went uncalled by the officials and that set up a pretty three-way passing play for the goal.

After being called out by Smith for taking their jobs in the NHL for granted, the Senators responded in a big way by outshooting the Canucks a whopping 23-7 in the first which was three shots shy of the franchise record of 26 in one period set against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 22, 2008.

“If you get caught turning pucks over in this league, and you want to score off the rush all the time, and you don’t wear the other team down, eventually it will sting you,” said Smith. “The first period we came ready to play, the second we weren’t mentally as sharp and we didn’t take care of the puck and then it ended up in the back of the net.

“I’m really frustrated, and so are the guys, and we’re working to get out of this.”

While Hogberg gave up a terrible rebound on the first shot he faced to allow Motte to open the scoring at 2:04 into an empty net, the Senators battled back. With Tkachuk battling at the front of the net on the power play, Norris tied it up 1-1 on the power play at 8:16 by firing it home from the slot.

To make matters worse. the Senators were forced to finish the game with five defenceman. Christian Wolanin left the game after two periods with a lower body injury and barely played in the second.

You can bet we’re going to see veteran goalie Matt Murray make the start for Ottawa.

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Twitter: @sungarrioch

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