Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray (30) stops Vancouver Canucks’ Matthew Highmore (15) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray (30) stops Vancouver Canucks’ Matthew Highmore (15) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Murray makes 31 saves as visiting Senators blank Canucks 3-0

Vancouver, Ottawa clash again Saturday

Matt Murray collected his second shutout of the week Thursday as the Ottawa Senators blanked the host Vancouver Canucks 3-0.

Murray had 31 saves in the victory and extended the Sens’ win streak to three games. He also backstopped Ottawa to a 4-0 decision over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist for the Senators (17-26-4) , and rookie Tim Stutlze scored his eighth of the season on a first-period power play. Connor Brown added an empty-net strike to close out the game.

Thatcher Demko stopped 22-of-24 shots in his first game back from Vancouver’s’ COVID-19 outbreak. The Canucks goalie last played on March 24.

Vancouver (18-19-3) still has a 4-1 edge in the nine-game season series between the two teams.

Ottawa remains at the bottom of the North Division standings, a single point behind Vancouver. The Canucks have seven games in hand.

Vancouver pulled Demko with three minutes to go, but couldn’t beat Murray with an extra attacker.

Brown buried a shot on the empty net with 90 seconds left on the clock.

The Canucks outshot the Senators 31-25 over the course of three periods.

After a shaky first, Vancouver pressed in the middle frame, outshooting the Sens 12-7 across the period.

Murray made some big stops to preserve Ottawa’s lead, including a beautiful glove save on Quinn Hughes where he snatched the puck out of mid-air.

The win marked the 26-year-old goaltender’s second shutout of the season and the 13th of his career.

Batherson put the Sens up 2-0 with a power-play marker before the end of the opening period Thursday.

READ MORE: NHL: Virus protocols not ‘relaxed’ for vaccinated players

A puck trickled through the legs of Vancouver’s Tyler Myers, stationed at the top of the Canucks crease, and Batherson quickly pounced, firing it in to the yawning net for his 16th of the season.

Josh Norris had an assist on the play, extending his point streak to six games with three goals and six assists across the stretch.

It was Ottawa’s second power-play goal of the period. Stutzle was credited with the first 9:17 into the game when Nick Paul’s shot from the top of the left face-off circle hit the skate of the rookie as he leapt up in front of the net, pinging off the post and in.

The Sens were 2 for 4 with the man advantage on Thursday while the Canucks failed to capitalize on four power plays.

There were lots of fireworks in the first period Thursday, prompting a flurry of whistles.

About five minutes in, Brady Tkachuk hit an unsuspecting Matthew Highmore at centre ice. Vancouver defenceman Travis Hamonic took offence to the play and immediately jumped Tkachuk who responded by dropping his gloves.

The fisticuffs ended with Tkachuck in the box for fighting. and interference and Hamonic heading to the dressing room for instigating and fighting.

Hamonic’s penalty was initially called a game misconduct but he returned to the ice in the second period.

Thursday’s battle was the first in a series of four straight games between the two sides. They’ll meet again in Vancouver on Saturday.

NOTES: Stutlze now has 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in his first NHL season. … The Senators have power-play goals in six consecutive games. … Canucks coach Travis Green said Thursday that forward Antoine Roussel is expected to miss “a couple of weeks” after suffering a lower-body injury in Tuesday’s game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2021.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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