Murray makes 31 saves, Senators shut out Canucks

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VANCOUVER — Matt Murray made 31 saves to help the Ottawa Senators win the first of four straight games against the Vancouver Canucks, 3-0 at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist for the Senators (17-26-4), who have won three straight games in regulation for the first time this season and are 4-1-0 in their past five.

Thatcher Demko made 22 saves in his first start since March 24 for the Canucks (18-19-3), who lost for the first time in three games since coming back Sunday from an 18-day pause due to a COVID-19 outbreak that saw 22 players and four staff members test positive for the coronavirus. 

Vancouver is sixth in the seven-team Scotia North Division, 10 points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens with four games in hand. Ottawa is one point behind Vancouver but has played seven more games. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The teams will play again here Saturday, and in Ottawa on Monday and Wednesday. The Canucks won their first five games against the Senators this season, outscoring them 22-7, but fell behind on two power-play goals Thursday.

Tim Stützle deflected a Nick Paul shot past Demko while cutting through the slot to make it 1-0 at 9:17 of the first period. 

Batherson converted a cross-crease pass by Josh Norris to make it 2-0 at 15:57.

Connor Brown scored into an empty net at 18:30 of the third period, his 11th goal in the past 12 games.

It was Murray’s second shutout of the season, second in the past three games, and 13th in the NHL. He is 3-1-0 in four starts since missing one month with an undisclosed injury.

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