While captain Erik Karlsson continues to recover from offseason surgery on his ankle, the Ottawa Senators hit the road to open a three-game swing through western Canada that begins at the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. The Senators are in search of their first victory, having opened the season with a pair of shootout losses.
Karlsson, Ottawa’s do-everything defenseman who led the team in scoring and helped it to the Eastern Conference finals last season, did not accompany the Senators on the trek but could join up with them over the weekend. “We have everything (at home) to take care of him,” coach Guy Boucher told the Ottawa Citizen. “We have everything in the gym, the equipment and he can do things two or three times a day.” First-year coach Travis Green was victorious in his NHL debut as Vancouver topped Connor McDavid and Edmonton 3-2 on Saturday night. I thought we had a hell of a game against a really good hockey team,” said Green, who spent the previous four seasons coaching the franchise’s American Hockey League affiliate in Utica.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN5 (Ottawa), Sportsnet Vancouver
ABOUT THE SENATORS (0-0-2): Karlsson isn’t the only issue on the blue line — Ottawa also is without veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya and Ben Harpur, who was injured in Saturday’s loss after he was called up to replace Oduya. The Senators need to get untracked on the power play after going 0-for-12 in the first two games. “We’re missing one of our big pieces with (Karlsson) and we’ve got to try to get a few more pucks through, get a few more shots and try to create havoc down low,” forward Mike Hoffman said.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (1-0-0): Forward Bo Horvat led Vancouver with a career-best 20 goals last season — and that’s after the former first-round draft pick ended the year on a 17-game drought. That’s why it was so encouraging for the Canucks to see Horvat score twice in the season opener against the Oilers. “You always want to start off hot, you always want to start off strong,” Horvat said. “You look (around the league) all these guys scoring lots of goals already. “It definitely helps my confidence.”
1. F Alex Burrows, who played 12 seasons with Vancouver before he was traded to Ottawa in February, needs one goal to reach 200 for his career.
2. The Canucks, who ranked 29th in the league on the power play last season, were 1-for-7 against Edmonton.
3. Ottawa recalled Ds Thomas Chabot and Christian Jaros from Belleville of the AHL.
PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Senators 2