Bobby Ryan recorded a hat trick in his first home game since November, and the Ottawa Senators snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
On a night that could not have been scripted better, Ryan, an Ottawa favorite, played his second game since missing a little more than three months after entering the NHL’s Player Assistance Program while dealing with alcoholism. It was the first time he skated on home ice since Nov. 15.
Ryan, who had one goal in 17 games entering this contest, scored in the first and then iced the game with two late in the third period. It was his first hat trick since December 2014, helping Ottawa snap an 0-3-1 slide.
Tyler Toffoli tipped in a J.T. Miller (goal, assist) shot for his fourth goal in four games since being acquired by Vancouver from Los Angeles to get the visitors within 3-2 with 11:44 left in regulation.
But Ryan added to his special night when he made it 4-2 with 2:08 to play on a pass from Chris Tierney. Ryan kicked it to himself and drilled the puck by Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko (20 saves).
Ryan completed the hat trick 19 seconds later with an empty-netter that further sent the crowd into a frenzy with chants of “Bobby, Bobby.”
Vancouver, in the mix for first place in the Pacific Division, entered on a 4-1-1 stretch but was unable to overcame an early 2-0 hole, after doing so Tuesday at Montreal.
Ottawa opened the scoring early with two goals 31 seconds apart. First, Connor Brown scored his 14th at 7:13 when he took advantage of a Vancouver turnover and wristed the puck from the near circle. Ryan then tipped in Nikita Zaitsev’s shot with 12:16 left in the opening period.
Vancouver made it 2-1 off the power play with just 16 seconds left in the second period when Miller drove a shot from the point for his 25th goal. It was the Canucks’ 54th goal with the man-advantage this season.
Ottawa, though, regained its two-goal advantage just 14 seconds into the final period when Rudolfs Balcers scored his first of the season off a rebound. Marcus Hogberg finished with 32 saves for Ottawa.
—Field Level Media