Vancouver Canucks jump on Ottawa Senators early in 6-3 win

The Vancouver Canucks are grateful for their first period and rue the 40 minutes afterward.

Elias Pettersson and Pius Suter each scored twice as the Canucks erupted for five first-period goals and coasted to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

But the Canucks faced a late scare as the Senators scored three goals over the second and third periods to get within two goals.

“It was a good first. A couple of lucky bounces went our way,” Vancouver’s J.T. Miller said.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet reiterated that message.

“Great period. Probably one of our best periods in about a month. It was awesome,” he said. “Everybody was really connected.”

Miller and Ian Cole also scored for Vancouver (24-10-3), while Noah Juulsen, Brock Boeser, Nikita Zadorov, Ilya Mikheyev, Sam Lafferty and Suter all recorded assists.

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Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals for the Senators while Claude Giroux had a goal and assist.

“We lost our staple, we didn’t go through people, we were backing up, we were pinching when we shouldn’t. Those are the things I don’t like,” Tocchet said about his team’s final two periods.

The loss comes after the Senators (14-19-0) announced a new front office on Sunday. Ottawa appointed Steve Staios as the team’s general manager, removing the interim tag from the title he held.

Dave Poulin, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins before joining the Toronto Maple Leafs front office, was named the senior vice-president of hockey operations.

Jacques Martin was named interim head coach, with Daniel Alfredsson joining as an assistant coach, in mid-December.

Martin was blunt about his team’s performance.

“It was to me a lesson learned about how hard you have to compete, how hard you have to play. We just need to do things quicker. We need to be harder on pucks and it’s not one or two players,” the Senators’ bench boss said.

“We win one game and then we revert to where the team was before, so I think we have to look at the game, analyze the game, but I think it doesn’t matter who we play, we have to increase, raise our level of compete.”

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Thatcher Demko stopped 35 of 38 shots for the Canucks, while Anton Forsberg saved nine of 13 for the Senators. Joonas Korpisalo replaced Forsberg in the second period and stopped 11 of 13 shots.

Martin added that he had a similar refrain to the team about looking back at the game.

“What was said I think is basically the message I’m giving to you: they have to decide what they want to be. It’s not like there’s a lot of first-year kids on this team. They’ve been here so to me they’ve got to change. I’ve said it before, the biggest thing they’ve got to change is the mindset.”

Giroux added to that messaging.

“It’s very frustrating right now, but I believe in this group. We have the potential to win 10 in a row if we (compete) the whole game, we’re consistent in it and we got everybody doing it. And if we do that I strongly believe we can get on a roll, but we need to do it.”

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