Brandon Sutter collected his first career hat trick as the Vancouver Canucks snapped a two-game skid with a 7-1 home-ice victory over the slumping Ottawa Senators on Monday night to kick off a three-game set between the clubs.
Goaltender Thatcher Demko made 35 saves for the win, his best performance of the season for a Vancouver team that has struggled to keep pucks out of the net.
The second part of the mini-series will be Wednesday night.
Entering the game having dropped five of their last six outings, the Canucks needed an early boost and received it when Sutter opened the scoring just before the midway point of the opening frame. Alexander Edler intercepted a poor clearing attempt and sent a long shot that Ottawa goalie Matt Murray couldn’t handle, and Sutter pounced on the rebound.
Then, Tyler Motte doubled the Vancouver lead by finishing a play he started. While on the forecheck, Motte stole the puck from Thomas Chabot, and then completed a nifty give-and-go with Jay Beagle for his third goal of the season at the 14:08 mark.
Austin Watson put the Senators on the board when he deflected a point shot into the net at 11:58 of the second period, but Tanner Pearson scored 30 seconds later to restore the two-goal edge.
While on a two-on-two rush, Vancouver’s Nils Hoglander put the puck off the boards to get around a defender, and dove to chip a pass to Pearson as he headed to the net. Pearson buried the chance for his first goal of the season. The tally at 17:44 of the middle period put the Canucks up 4-1.
Sutter netted his second of the game while the Canucks were short-handed. Seconds after a big save by Demko, Sutter was sent on a partial breakaway, and he responded with a top-corner shot from the right circle at 17:44 of the second period.
After Quinn Hughes tallied midway through the third period, rookie Olli Juolevi scored his first NHL goal, a point-shot blast that found the twine, and then Sutter completed his hat trick in the final minute of his 735th career game.
Murray made 28 saves for the Senators, who have lost five straight (0-4-1). Ottawa rookie Tim Stutzle returned to the lineup after missing three games due to injury but had a rough night, posting a minus-4 rating.
–Field Level Media