VANCOUVER — The sinking Senators found a new and somewhat exciting way to extend their losing streak.
They did so while outplaying the No. 1 team in the NHL.
No one could have guessed it.
Ultimately, Ottawa’s losing streak was stretched to 10 games in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Canucks at Rogers Arena. The Senators have now lost 16 of their past 17 games and are just one point ahead of the Islanders and two in front of the Edmonton Oilers, who are dead-last in the league.
Things might have been different for the Senators in Vancouver if a couple of the three, second period posts they hit had been more co-operative. Instead of ricochetting into the net, Roberto Luongo was helped by his two best friends
In his second game back after missing 15 with a shoulder injury, Jason Spezza turned in a exceptional performance. He had a goal and an assist, and was two posts from adding another of each.
Nick Foligno had the other Ottawa goal.
Alex Burrows, Ryan Kessler and Mikael Samuelsson beat Brian Elliott, who over came some first half shakiness to make some key saves.
The Canucks hit a couple of posts themselves, first Mason Raymond and then Ryan Kessler, with the Sens’ net empty for an extra attacker. Samuelsson added his second of the night, 31 seconds from the final horn, with Elliott on the bench.
The Senators fought back from a 3-0 deficit with a pair of goals in the second period — and they should have had more.
Foligno started the stir with a spinaround backhand that beat Luongo over his trapper. The goal was Foligno’s ninth of the season, and it was set up by a Spezza pass from the side boards. Daniel Alfredsson was also given an assist.
The Spezza line was on the attack again less than two minutes later, this time on a rare 3-on-0 breakaway. Spezza took a breakout pass from Chris Phillips and then, using Foligno and Alfredsson as decoys, took a chance with a shot through Luongo’s legs. Stymied, he swatted home his own rebound for his 10th of the season —first since Dec. 17.
Ottawa had a chance to knot things when the Canucks took a too-many-men penalty just after Elliott made a nice toe stop off Henrik Sedin.
Early into the power play, Spezza deflected a point shot that clanked off the post, while late into the penalty Sergei Gonchar blasted a slap shot that also rang off iron.
With Phillips in the box serving an interference penalty later in the period, Spezza and Milan Michalek broke down ice with a two-on-one. Michalek was alone after taking a feed from Spezza, and his shot to the top left hand corner hit the post, too.
The Senators were down by a pair after the first period despite holding the Canucks to just five shots on net.
The first goal was a result of shoddy defensive play, as Burrows slipped away from Mike Fisher along the end boards and then stepped in front of Phillips before swooping around Eliott and sliding the puck in the far side.
Moments after Kessler entered the zone via the left wing and hit the post with a wrist shot, he visited Elliott from a laneway on the other side of the ice. This time, using Brian Lee as a screen, he whipped a shot past Elliott’s catching mitt.
Samuelsson put the Canucks up 3-0 when he converted a pass from Kessler.
One player who wasn’t part of the attempted Ottawa comeback was Jesse Winchester, who left the game with a lower body injury in the first.