VANCOUVER - The Senators will have to wait to write the book on how the West was won.
For now, they're waiting to see if the NHL will take any disciplinary action after Sunday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Canucks.
A couple of Vancouver players could be in trouble.
Accused of being one of the NHL’s most hated teams, the Canucks certainly lived up to that billing. Winger Maxim Lapierre slammed Jesse Winchester into an open bench door being controlled by Alex Burrows with no call.
It appeared Burrows opened the door and Ottawa players weren’t pleased.
“It’s not a safe play,” said Winchester. “I was under the impression my butt was against the wall, the next thing I know I’m through the bench. I couldn’t see behind me, I’m not paying attention to what’s on the bench.”
NHL disiciplinarian Brendan Shanahan could look at it for a suspension. Defenceman Andrew Alberts crashed Kaspars Daugavins into the glass as well.
Asked about Alberts’ hit, Senators coach Paul MacLean answered: “I expect Brendan Shanahan to do his job. I’m not doing his job, I’m having a hard enough time doing mine.”
Trying to sweep a Western Canada road trip for the first time in team history, the Senators came up short as Chris Higgins deflected the puck by Alex Auld at 2:18 of overtime.
Thrust into action with Craig Anderson injured, Auld — who spent four years in the Vancouver organization — couldn’t do anything as Higgins tipped a shot from Dan Hamhuis. Henrik Sedin scored in regulation for the Canucks.
For the Senators, only Colin Greening was able to beat Cory Schneider, who came up big in the Canucks net, stopping 28-of-29 shots.
If this game against last spring’s Stanley Cup finalist was a measuring stick, the Senators measured up well. The loss halted Ottawa’s three-game winning streak, but the club did pick up 5-of-6 points on the western swing after victories in Calgary and Edmonton.
Auld said he found out after the skate he was playing.
“I thought we had a good effort and it was a big for us,” said Auld. “Five points on this Western swing is definitely good for us and we’ve got to take the positives out of it.
“Sometimes (finding out late) is the best thing. I’ve got a lot of fond memories here and I’ve always loved playing here. It’s pretty special every time I come back here. A win would have been great, but you have to look at the bigger picture. I thought as a team we played the way we wanted to play.”
Anderson was scheduled to make his ninth straight start, but pulled up lame with a stiff neck during the morning skate. He was able to dress as the backup to Auld and should be fine to play in the next game -— Friday against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Auld, making his first start since Oct. 18 when he was pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots in a 7-2 loss to the Flyers, did a solid job by stopping 25 shots.
Coach Paul MacLean was pleased with the effort.
“Anytime you go on the road, get 7-of-8 points and take the Stanley Cup finalist to overtime, I don’t think you can be disappointed,” said MacLean. “Our team came out and played a really good 60 minutes plus a little extra.
“It just didn’t go our way at the end. I’m really proud of our work ethic and the way we came across Canada and showed people the kind of team that we have.”
Greening’s sixth of the season and second in two games came on a redirect off a perfect feed from Jason Spezza, who did good work behind the net. Greening beat Schneider stick side at 3:32 of the third period to tie it 1-1.
The Senators' power play didn’t do them any favours as the club went scoreless for the third straight game by finishing 0-for-5. Milan Michalek was in alone in the third with the chance to give his club a lead, but Schneider shot out the glove to halt him.
Ottawa is 2-for-30 on the power play in its past eight games — and is an area the club must improve, said centre Jason Spezza.
“Teams are starting to do a better job with us,” said Spezza. “We’ve just got to give a little different look. We’re getting shots and chances, we just can’t put the puck in the net. If you’re not scoring, you’ve got to do something different.”
The Senators were down 1-0 after 40 minutes. They finally gave the league's No. 1 power play enough opportunities that the Canucks cashed in on their third chance. That came with Sergei Gonchar in the box on a weak tripping call.
Though it didn’t look good on Auld, a shot from Sedin from the slot deflected off Jesse Winchester’s stick and by Auld at 2:33. The Senators talked a lot about being disciplined and was only a matter of time the Canucks made them pay.
While Auld didn’t face a whole lot of tough scoring chances in the first, Schneider had to be at his best with four huge stops on the Senators in the first alone. He stopped Greening twice on a power play when he was alone in front.
Though Schneider had been criticized for his performance in the last three games, he halted Michalek in alone on a backhander after he went by Sami Salo and made a big save on Spezza in alone only 30 seconds into the game.