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Kuzmenko paces Canucks past Senators for season-best 4th straight win

Kuzmenko paces Canucks past Senators for season-best 4th straight win

There’s a new energy in the Vancouver Canucks’ dressing room these days, says goalie Thatcher Demko.

After struggling through much of the season, the team has found ways to win in recent weeks, including a 5-2 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators on Saturday that stretched their win streak to a season-high four games.

“We can definitely feel it in the room. I think there’s a buy-in that’s going on right now,” Demko said after making 18 saves Saturday. “That’s just playing the right way. It’s contagious when everyone’s doing it and it looks good.”

The solid run of form has coincided with the all-star goalie’s return to the crease after missing more than three months with a groin injury.

WATCH l Kuzmenko scores pair to help Canucks top Senators:

Canucks hand Senators tough loss, capture 4th win in a row

A pair of goals by Andrei Kuzmenko helped Vancouver defeat Ottawa 5-2 Saturday night.

Demko, who’s 4-1-0 since his return, said his teammates were obviously putting in work while he was sidelined.

“So who knows? Maybe I’m just reaping the rewards of the guys working hard all year,” he said. “But it looks great.”

Ten players racked up points for the Canucks (28-32-5) on Saturday, including Andrei Kuzmenko, who scored twice, including a power-play tally into an empty net with 14.8 seconds left on the game clock.

Vancouver’s J.T. Miller and Nils Aman each contributed a goal and an assist, and Sheldon Dries also found the back of the net. Dakota Joshua registered a pair of helpers.

The Senators (33-28-4) struggled to get a puck past Demko until midway through the third period, when Claude Giroux and Nick Holden scored two minutes and five seconds apart. Tim Stutzle assisted on both.

Mads Sogaard stopped 25 of 30 shots for Ottawa.

“It’s frustrating. I didn’t think we played that bad,” Giroux said. “We did a lot of good things but kind of a weird game, to be honest. You think you’re playing a pretty good and then you’re down 4-0. So definitely frustrating.”

Vancouver limited the visitors to 20 shots, including just 12 across the first two periods.

“It means everybody’s gapping up and the defence are trusting the forwards that they’re backing the defencemen up,” said Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet. “It’s a lot of different trust factors. You can’t play this game if you don’t trust your teammates, and that’s something we’ve really worked on the last six weeks is…

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