Sens Canuckle under

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

An ineffective offence.

A sputtering power play.

The bounces going against them.

A hot goaltender stealing a game.

How many times did Alain Vigneault and Rick Bowness see that happen to their team during the early years in Ottawa?

The Senators' first coaches back in the expansion 1992-93 season saw it happen to Ottawa again last night, except now they are behind the opposition bench, walking away with their Vancouver Canucks and smiles, following a 2-1 win in a battle of the NHL's two hottest teams.

The Senators saw their five-game winning streak snapped and were frustrated for much of the night by Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and his teammates, who showed what Senators coach Bryan Murray meant when he called the Canucks "New Jersey West."

"They were all over us in the third and Luongo was the difference," said Vigneault, the Canucks coach, who was an assistant to Bowness on that first Senators team, their roles with the Canucks now reversed.

"I'm not apologizing for Luongo shutting them down ... he wants the challenge to help this team win and bring us to the playoffs. He hasn't been in the playoffs yet."

Luongo, who made 34 saves, didn't like the comparison to the New Jersey Devils.

"I don't think we play like that at all. We're a totally different team," he said, adding the team's recent streak isn't surprising anyone in the Canucks' room. "We don't have to prove anything to ourselves. But if it opens up some eyes around the league, so much the better."

The Senators trailed 2-0 going into the third on goals by Vancouver's Taylor Pyatt and almost-all-star Rory Fitzpatrick, but finally got a spark from captain Daniel Alfredsson eight minutes in as he converted a great pass from winger Dany Heatley.

Heatley had hit the crossbar on a breakaway and Luongo looked like he might be invincible on the night.

"I've hit two crossbars in a row. Sometimes it goes like that," said Heatley. "If you make a good shot, you can beat him, but sometimes they hit the post. He made some saves he should make (last night) and some he shouldn't have."

The Canucks, winners of 10 of their last 11 now, have given up just three goals in their last three games and won despite mustering just 14 shots on Senators goaltender Ray Emery. They saw both their goals scored on deflections.

"I thought we played as well defensively as you can play," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "But we couldn't find a way to score. It has a lot to do with goaltending. We had a couple of chances and we couldn't complete them."

The Senators had gone into the game 10-1-1 in their last 12 games, a stretch that had seem them overtake the sputtering Montreal Canadiens for second place in the Northeast Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.

But the Habs beat the Atlanta Thrashers last night to retake fourth place in the East with 57 points, one more than the Senators and having the benefit of a game in hand.

The Senators play one more game before the all-star break, in Boston against the Bruins tomorrow night.


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