The relief among the Vancouver Canucks after Monday's 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens couldn't be missed. Now, the task for the struggling Canucks after ending a four-game losing skid is to duplicate that feat against the cellar-dwelling Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.
The Canucks, who earned their first road victory since Oct. 23 -- which snapped a six-game swoon away from Vancouver -- and boast only two wins in their last 11 outings (2-8-1), have the opportunity to end a dismal five-game road swing on a positive note.
"There's a lot of adversity, it feels like, around our group," coach Travis Green said. "When things are going tough and you're going through adversity, it shows a lot about a player and individuals and a lot about a team, how you respond. We talked about character, and times like this reveal a lot about players and teams."
The Canucks remain at the bottom of the Pacific Division but had a couple of huge positive notes from the victory, and not just because it's their first regulation-time win in Montreal since 2007.
Not only did goaltender Thatcher Demko shine, but struggling forward Elias Pettersson snapped a nine-game goal-scoring drought that has seen him demoted to a third-line role.
"It definitely felt good to score again and especially with a one-timer," Pettersson said. "I'll play wherever the coach puts me and just try to play my best. I embrace it. I'm not going to complain. I haven't played my best so far this season -- I had a tendency to overthink and kind of got away from hard work -- and the shot hasn't been there, but I've been grinding a lot after every practice and shooting a lot."
Life has been even worse for the Senators, who sit last in the league standings. Thanks to their 4-2 loss in Los Angeles on Saturday to end a fruitless four-game road trip, the Senators are on a five-game losing streak -- all in regulation time -- and have just one win in their last 12 outings (1-10-1). On top of that, the Senators also postponed games due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
"We're going to have to (put the month behind us)," defenseman Thomas Chabot said. "Obviously, it's not what we wanted to do, but we really have to come together as a group and get this done."
The Senators will receive a boost for the game, with forward Drake Batherson slated to return after missing five games due to the virus and newly acquired forward Adam Gaudette expected to make his Ottawa debut. Despite missing a couple of weeks, Batherson leads Ottawa with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists).
"It's nice to get back," Batherson said after skating with the team on Tuesday. "I wanted to bring some energy to practice today, and I was super excited to see the guys. I'm pumped to be back playing."
Gaudette, who was claimed via waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks with whom he collected one goal and two points in eight games, will face the team that drafted him. He played 153 games for the Canucks, with his best season coming in 2019-20 when he collected 12 goals and 33 points in 59 games.
"This is probably the best opportunity I've had since I've been in the league," Gaudette said.
--Field Level Media