Adam Gaudette says he owes goalie coach Ian Clark for his shootout skills.
The Canucks centre scored the first shootout goal of his career on Wednesday to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
“I have to give credit to (Clark) who gave me a couple of shootout ideas last year, and in practice the other day we were working on it as well. I just had a move in my mind and stuck with it,” said Gaudette, who deked around Filip Gustavsson and tucked it inside the near post.
Bo Horvat had a goal and an assist, while Brock Boeser also scored in regulation for Vancouver (15-16-3).
Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko, who had 30 saves on the night, improved to 7-1 in March.
“He seems so confident in there,” Gaudette said. “I knew Thatcher many years ago and I could always tell he was something special and it’s great to see him really coming out and playing well. He’s huge for us right now and he’s only gonna get better.”
Ryan Dzingel and Josh Norris scored for the Senators (10-20-3), who lost goaltender Joey Daccord to an injury in the third period.
The Canucks’ victory was their third in a row, sixth in their last seven outings, and fifth against Ottawa this season. The Senators, meanwhile, have won just twice in their last nine games.
Playing their second of a four-game road trip, the Canucks opened the scoring for the second consecutive night, when Horvat drove down the wing after a sloppy Ottawa pass attempt, and found Boeser open in front of the net. Boeser buried his 15th goal of the season – fifth best in the league – at 2:29 of the first period.
Vancouver padded its lead at 8:26 of the first when Thomas Chabot was knocked down at the boards by Nils Hoglander. The ensuing 2-on-1 ended with an easy tip-in by Horvat for his 13th of the year, while a frustrated Chabot was left glaring at the official.
The Senators’ puck movement improved in the second, and it paid off when Dzingel scored his sixth of the season to slice the difference in half at 3:00 of the period.
Much like Monday’s overtime loss to Vancouver, the Senators trailed by two but chipped away at the lead. Norris tied it up at 5:34 of the third with his seventh goal of the season, and third against Vancouver.
“I thought we battled hard to get it back to 2-2. That game could go either way. It’s unfortunate we don’t win,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith.
“It’s a young skilled group over there that’s playing hard right now,” Demko said of the Sens. “So we knew they were going to give us a couple tight games. And they did, took more than 60 minutes both nights.”
Boeser hit the crossbar in overtime.
“Obviously I wish it would have went in, that would have been the easier way to get the extra point,” he said. “But, you know, (Demko) made some big saves for us in the shootout.”
Has Demko’s recent excellent play been a surprise?
“We’ve always had a lot of faith and a lot of belief in (him),” said Canucks coach Travis Green. “And he took some good strides last year, obviously played well at the end of the year, probably wasn’t as sharp as he wanted to be, we’ve talked about that at the beginning of the year, but I don’t think we’re surprised that he’s playing well.
“He’s a good goalie and we believe in him.”
Losing yet another goalie was bad news for Ottawa. Daccord, who had just earned his first NHL victory on Sunday against Toronto, left the game at 5:07 of the third period. Daccord injured his left leg when he stretched across the net, and grimaced while being helped off the ice.
Gustavsson replaced Daccord for his NHL debut.
“It was kind of perfect. You don’t have to think about it. You just jump straight into the game,” Gustavsson said of his debut.
Smith said he wouldn’t know until Thursday the extent of Daccord’s injury.
The Senators acquired goaltender Anton Forsberg off waivers from from Winnipeg earlier in the day to shore up its goaltending depth with both top netminder Matt Murray (upper-body injury) and Marcus Hogberg (lower-body injury) sidelined.
The Canucks, meanwhile, claimed winger Jimmy Vesey off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the day, and the 27-year-old drove to Ottawa and participated in the warm-up before being listed as unavailable for the game, due to a work visa issue. As a U.S. citizen, Vesey’s visa only applies to one NHL team. Vesey had five goals and two assists in 30 games with the Leafs.
Vancouver wing Tanner Pearson left the game in the third period.
The Canucks head to Montreal to face the Canadiens on Friday, while the Senators host Calgary on Monday.