OTTAWA – The Vancouver Canucks missed out on giving coach Alain Vigneault his 300th career NHL victory behind the bench the first time they had the chance.
They made sure they didn’t let another opportunity pass them by Thursday night.
Coming off a disappointing 2-0 loss in Montreal two nights earlier that stopped a six-game win streak, the Canucks responded in the second game of their current five-game road trip by thumping the Ottawa Senators 6-2 before a sold-out Scotiabank Place audience of 19,191.
“It was a good bounce-back game,” said Ryan Kesler, who scored a pair of goals, including the go-ahead marker with the score tied 1-1 in the second period.
Vancouver (9-4-2) then struck for a pair of goals 38 seconds apart in the opening 1:11 of the third period and ran away with the game from there.
“It was a good hockey game for 40 minutes,” Senators centre Jason Spezza said. “We just gave them too many quality chances.”
The win allowed Vigneault to reach a milestone against the club he began his NHL coaching career with as an assistant. He’s the 39th coach in NHL history to reach that mark.
“Obviously, for 300, I’m happy about that, but I’m more happy about the two points we got tonight,” Vigneault said. “Our puck management in the first period was obviously questionable and they had some quality chances. I thought we got better in the second and we were obviously really good in the third period tonight, so we’ll take the two points and go to Toronto and get ready for that game (Saturday).”
Daniel Sedin, who opened the scoring only 22 seconds into the game, Alex Burrows and Tanner Glass each had a goal and an assist and Mario Bliznak added his first NHL goal for Vancouver.
Henrik Sedin chipped in with a pair of assists.
Despite the quick start by the Canucks, the Senators (8-7-1) tied the game through Peter Regin’s first goal of the year minutes later.
Even after Kesler scored the go-ahead marker midway through the contest, the Senators were in it until the early moments of the third when Burrows and Kesler, with his second, struck in quick succession.
“I thought (in) the first period we were a little sloppy,” Kesler said. “We were turning over pucks and really, just at the end of the first, we kind of re-established ourselves by just chipping it in and making it a simple game.
“You can look at all our goals—all of our goals are products of getting the puck in and shooting the puck and driving the net and that’s what we did tonight and that’s why we won.”
Roberto Luongo finished with 33 saves in Vancouver’s net.
Sergei Gonchar had the other goal for the Senators, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
They were coming off Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers, their sixth triumph in the past seven games.
Pascal Leclaire, starting for the first time in a month in place of Brian Elliott, made 27 stops.
“They’ve got a lot of big guns and they’re a quick transition team, so if you turn the puck over, they’re going to come right back at you,” Leclaire said. “Their four lines can score and when we made a couple of mistakes, they made us pay and that was the game.”
Leclaire hadn’t played in exactly four weeks since suffering a groin injury early in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Elliott has been suffering from what Senators coach Cory Clouston calls “bumps and bruises” and was given the night off after starting 11 straight games.
It didn’t take the Canucks long to welcome back Leclaire, who fell to 0-3-1 on the season.
Daniel Alfredsson turned the puck over, allowing Henrik Sedin to set up his brother Daniel Sedin just 22 seconds in.
Regin tied it at 3:27 of the first after Luongo stopped a shot by Alex Kovalev and Regin jammed at his pads and forced the puck over the goal-line.
In the second, Kovalev coughed up the puck and allowed Jannik Hansen to find Kesler to the side of Leclaire. Kesler skated out in front and slipped the puck past the netminder to make it 2-1.
The Senators came unglued at the start of the third.
Burrows, playing his fifth game since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, notched his first of the season by completing a nifty three-way passing play with the Sedin twins just 33 seconds in.
Thirty-eight seconds after that, Kesler banged in the rebound of Mikael Samuelsson’s shot.
“It was a big disappointment,” said Regin, who also added an assist. “You kind of die. You get out there and you want to get back into the game and tie the game to at least take it to overtime. Then to give up two right away, it’s tough to get back.”
Glass scored his first of the season and Bliznak, playing his first game of the campaign and third of his career, beat Leclaire from the edge of the crease before Gonchar scored late to close out the scoring.
Notes: The Senators begin a four-game road trip Saturday when they travel to Boston to face the Bruins. They also face Philadelphia, Carolina and St. Louis. … Ottawa defenceman Filip Kuba, who’s missed the entire season because of a broken leg, is on the verge of returning to the lineup. … Vancouver blue-liner Keith Ballard was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. … The Canucks skipped a game-day practice to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial with a crowd estimated at 30,000.