Brady Tkachuk had a Gordie Howe hat trick as the host Ottawa Senators defeated the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 Wednesday night.
The abrasive Senators forward dropped the gloves with Zack MacEwen eight minutes into the game after the Canucks forward objected to Tkachuk flattening Brandon Sutter behind the goal.
The 21-year-old Tkachuk added an assist on Josh Norris’ goal that made it 3-0 just 70 seconds into the second period. Tkachuk intercepted an errant J.T. Miller pass in the Vancouver end and sent the puck at the net. When it came back to him, he beat two Canucks to feed Norris in front of goal for his 15th of the season.
Tkachuk, a six-foot-four 211-pounder, completed the Howe hat trick with a goal of his own at 16:13 of the second, thanks to a line change that allowed him to go in alone and beat Thatcher Demko glove-side for a 5-2 lead with his 16th of the season.
Victor Mete, Chris Tierney, Thomas Chabot and Colin White also scored for Ottawa, which had more jump on the night.
Tyler Myers, Jake Virtanen and Sutter replied for Vancouver, which needed Demko to keep the score from ballooning.
Ottawa outshot Vancouver 33-22.
Down by three and needing points to stay alive in the playoff race, the Canucks pulled Demko with 7:20 remaining. He returned less than a minute late as the Sens just missed the empty net.
White added an empty-net goal at 14:33 of the period when Demko went to the bench again, making it 6-2. It was his 10th of the season.
The win moved Ottawa (19-27-4, 42 points) past Vancouver (19-21-3, 41 points) and out of the North Division basement although the Canucks have seven games in hand due to their lengthy COVID-19 hiatus.
It was the fourth straight meeting between the two teams in seven days. Ottawa won the first and third, by 3-0 and 2-1 scores, with Vancouver taking the second, 4-2.
The Sens came into the game having won five of their last seven (5-2-0) — after losing six of their previous seven (1-5-1). They improved to 11-10-4 at home this season.
Vancouver gave Demko his second start since the team returned to action after the COVID outbreak. Braden Holtby had started four of the five previous games.
Mete, acquired April 12 on waivers from Montreal, opened the scoring on Ottawa’s first shot of the game. Taking a pass from Alex Formenton, he split the defence and beat Demko with a low shot at 2:04 for his first point as a Senator.
While the edge in shots was only 11-10 in favour of the Senators after the first period, Ottawa goaltender Marcus Hogberg had a far more comfortable 20 minutes than Demko.
The second period was all action with five goals — three for Ottawa and two for Vancouver — in the first seven minutes 23 seconds.
Tierney and Norris scored 32 seconds apart as the bottom fell apart early in the second for Vancouver.
Connor Brown won a battle deep in the Vancouver zone, feeding the puck back to Chabot for a shot from the blue-line. Tierney won the battle in front of the net to tuck in the rebounds 38 seconds into the period for a 2-0 lead.
Norris scored seconds later, prompting an irate Vancouver coach Travis Green to call a timeout. His mask pulled down, he gesticulated at his players
Myers pulled one back, firing a shot through traffic at 5:43 of the second for his fifth of the season. But Chabot answered 53 seconds later, to make it 4-1 with a shot from a tight angle after an Ottawa attack started by a Quinn Hughes turnover.
The goals kept coming with Virtanen, notching his 100th career point, scoring after Hogberg misplayed the puck behind his net. Motte retrieved the puck and sent it back in front for an easy goal that cut the lead to 4-2.
Tkachuk then extended the lead.
Vancouver’s Travis Hamonic and Ottawa’s Nick Paul fought midway through the third period. Paul got an extra penalty for removing his helmet during the brouhaha.
Demko made several great saves to deny Ottawa as the Senators pressed shorthanded. Sutter added a consolation goal for Vancouver at 17:43.
THE CANADIAN PRESS