VANCOUVER – Cody Ceci’s second-period goal stood up as the winner as the Ottawa Senators downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 before a disappointed crowd of more than 50,000 people Sunday in the NHL Heritage Classic.
The Senators (27-23-11) posted their first win in three games and kept pace in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (28-25-10) suffered their ninth loss in 10 games and remained on the bubble in their quest for eighth in the Western Conference.
Clarke MacArthur, Erik Karlsson and Colin Greening, into an empty-net with 1:33 left in the game, also scored for Ottawa.
Ceci put the Senators ahead 3-2 midway through the second. He took a pass from Jason Spezza and fired home a shot from right wing during a three-on-two breakaway.
Ottawa overcame an early 2-0 first-period deficit with four unanswered goals. The score was tied 2-2 after the first period before Ceci decided the outcome in the second and Greening closed out the scoring in the third.
Jason Garrison and Zack Kassian scored for the Canucks in the first five minutes before Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson shut them out the rest of the game. Anderson posted his 20th win of the season, recording 29 saves as Vancouver outshot the Sens 31-28.
Canucks goalie Eddie Lack suffered the loss as he drew his third consecutive start following the NHL’s Olympic break. Nominal No. 1 Roberto Luongo watched from the bench while sporting a toque and replica vintage pads and gloves.
The game was designed as a tribute to the 1915 Stanley Cup final series between the eventual-champion Vancouver Millionaires and Ottawa Senators. The Canucks wore maroon and cream-coloured Millionaires replica jerseys while the Senators sported duds similar to those of their predecessors.
Coaches wore varsity-styled jackets rather than their usual suits.
The NHL’s outdoor series was forced to go indoors as the B.C. Place Stadium roof was closed due to rain. The weather teased Vancouver and Ottawa players who had hoped the roof would remain open. Although Vancouver received a light snowfall overnight, a morning drizzle forced the closure of the stadium’s retractable dome.
Vancouver’s two first-period goals matched its offensive output for its pair of previous games.
Garrison opened the scoring on a power play 4:54 into the contest as he put a slapshot from the point over Anderson’s shoulder. Kassian doubled Vancouver’s lead about six and a half minutes later, squeezing in a quick shot after he and Brad Richardson forced a turnover along the boards in Ottawa’s end.
MacArthur put the Senators on the scoreboard at 15:15 with a mid-air deflection of an Erik Condra shot. On the way towards the net, the puck bounced in off Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa’s hand. Karlsson drew the Sens even on a power play at 17:03, beating a screened Lack with an on-ice shot from just inside the blue-line.
The Canucks lost winger Daniel Sedin in the second period after he took an elbow to the head from Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot. A woozy Sedin was helped by two trainers from the bench on a long way to the dressing room. No penalty was called on the play.
Notes: Canadian music star Sarah McLachlan sang the national anthem. Members of the 1994 Canucks team that reached the Stanley Cup final and Canada’s 2014 Olympic gold-medal-winning women’s hockey squad were saluted before the game. a NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance. a The stadium’s field was covered with fake snow and featured vintage Vancouver and Ottawa logos. a Officials did not stop play after one side of the Vancouver net was knocked widely off its mooring following a collision between an Ottawa player and Lack in the third period. As the play went back the other way, Lack left the net as it was for several moments before straightening it. Officials made sure it was back on both moorings during a TV timeout.