Elias Pettersson thought this was a pretty good day.
The Vancouver Canucks rookie scored his third goal of the night in overtime to lead the Canucks to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday after learning earlier in the day that he would represent the Pacific Division at the upcoming NHL all-star game.
“I heard before the game,” said Pettersson. “I’m very happy with that. The stars of the NHL are there, the players I watched growing up, and now I’m going to be at the all-star game.”
Pettersson’s success comes as no surprise to his coaches and teammates.
“He’s had so many chances to get a hat trick so far this year so to finally see him get that third one is a special moment for him,” said Brock Boeser. “It’s not surprising though because he’s going to have a lot more hat tricks.”
Canucks head coach Travis Green has been impressed by his young rookie and is pleased to see him enjoy the success.
“He was on (Wednesday),” said head coach Travis Green. “What are you going to say? Big day for him. He gets a hat trick, all-star selection, he was dialled in.
“He’s just getting better.”
Sven Baertschi also scored for the Canucks (20-19-4), who are playing the fourth of a six-game road trip. Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 shots for the win.
Matt Duchene, Christian Wolanin and Mark Stone scored for the Senators (15-21-5), who are now mired in a six-game losing streak. Marcus Hogberg, making his third straight start, made 41 saves.
As disappointed as the Senators were at falling short, they took some solace in picking up a point.
“We’re trying not to roll over in here,” said Stone. “Guys are competing. We understand this is our job and our job is to win.”
Hogberg is still looking for his first NHL victory and probably deserved a better fate on this night. The 24-year-old has impressed in all three starts, but hasn’t gotten much support.
“It’s something we need to address,” said defenceman Mark Borowiecki. “We’re not doing the right things as a group defensively, 50 shots or whatever it is in regulation, that’s unacceptable. I know we’ve been saying it all year, but we need to put our heads together and figure out a way through this and work for our goalies.
“If he’s going to put in an effort like that for us, we’ve got to make sure we do our part too.”
Leading 2-1, the Canucks kept the pressure right from the start of the third.
Hogberg made a great stick save on Boeser, but couldn’t stop Pettersson as he scored his second on the power play at the five-minute mark.
“He’s really good,” said Hogberg of Pettersson. “He was good out there and he’s an amazing player.”
Ottawa made it a one-goal game midway through the period as Wolanin scored his first of the season. The Senators pressed for the equalizer and scored in the final minute of regulation as Stone scored from in close to set up Petterson’s overtime heroics.
The second period was much like the first as Hogberg was kept busy, but the Canucks were finally able to solve the young netminder with a power-play goal. Hogberg stopped Alexander Edler’s point shot, but Baertschi was left alone in front to put in the rebound.
Ottawa tied the game at the 12-minute mark as Duchene jumped on a Bobby Ryan rebound, but three minutes later the Canucks regained the lead.
Pettersson started the sequence with a drop pass and took a great feed from Boeser to finish it with his team-leading 20th of the season.
A scoreless first period saw the Canucks outshoot the Senators 17-5.
“The first period was unacceptable,” said Borowiecki. “We addressed it after the first as players. None of us were good enough, myself included, with the exception of Hogberg, he held us in there.”
Hogberg made a number of big saves including stopping Jake Virtanen from in close midway through the period.
Ottawa’s best chance came in the dying seconds of the period on a two-on-one, but was unable to capitalize.