Coming off a career game in which he played on the first line, Jannik Hansen and the Vancouver Canucks try to keep rolling Thursday night against an Ottawa Senators team struggling to close out games.
The twins are doing their usual work of sparking the Canucks offensively, as Daniel Sedin shares the team lead in goals (five) with brother Henrik Sedin and Jared McCann, while also topping the club with 10 assists and 15 points. Hansen proved himself a seamless fit for one game at least, registering his first four-point effort with a goal and three assists in Tuesday's 5-3 win at Columbus.
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That top line finished with four goals and six assists. Henrik Sedin – second on the team with 12 points – had season highs of two goals and three points and Daniel added a goal and three assists.
Hansen had managed two goals in his previous 11 games before coach Willie Desjardins adjusted his lineup to put the Dane with the Swedes.
“Shake the lines up a little bit, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't,” Hansen said. “It's nice, you get a lot of opportunities, it's a matter of getting open for them and finding them and getting them the puck as much as possible.”
Vancouver is 1-1-1 on a seven-game road trip – its longest of the season – that keeps it in Canada for the final four contests. The Canucks are 5-1-2 on the road, but one area where they're hoping the Sedins and Hansen can make an impact is on the power play, as they're 2 for 26 with the man advantage away from Vancouver after going 0 for 3 against the Blue Jackets.
The Canucks (7-4-5), though, are tied for second in the NHL with 39 even-strength goals.
Jacob Markstrom made 42 saves in his season debut and is expected to return to the bench in favor of Ryan Miller, 0-2-1 with a 3.33 goals-against average in his last three starts.
Ottawa (7-5-3) earned one point on a two-game road swing that concluded with a 7-5 loss to Nashville on Tuesday. Zack Smith scored a pair of first-period goals but the Senators yielded three unanswered goals in the third to blow a lead in that period for the third straight game and sixth time overall.
“We seem to get to that point now when the game is on the line, especially after we get early leads and things are going real good, and we get to the point where the game is on the line and we try to do too much rather than just trusting the simple stuff that got you there,” coach Dave Cameron told the league's official website.
The Senators, whose third-period failures have cost them four points, have allowed 20 goals in the third – tied for third-most in the league.
Cameron was undecided on a goaltender after practice Wednesday, but Craig Anderson or Matt Hammond likely will be busy since Ottawa allows a league-high 34.6 shots per game.
Mark Stone has a six-game point streak, netting a goal and six assists, but first-line center Kyle Turris – Ottawa's leader with eight goals – has gone a season-high three games without a point.
Ottawa went 1-0-1 in the 2014-15 season series and rallied to a 4-3 overtime home win Dec. 7, scoring three consecutive goals in an 8:05 span of the third period to force the extra five minutes. Mika Zibanejad scored two of those goals and assisted on Erik Karlsson's overtime tally.