Craig Anderson says it’s good to get tested early in the year, but the Ottawa Senators goalie would still like to face fewer shots than he did on Wednesday night.
The veteran netminder was forced to make 44 stops as the Sens captured a 6-2 pre-season win over the Canucks in Vancouver.
“There’s going to be games where it’s like this and you want to make sure you can sustain that type of pressure for a long time. So tonight was a good test of my ability to push through the lots of shots games and a lot of work,” Anderson said.
“Ideally you’d like to slim down a little bit on the shots, but at the end of the day, we got the W.”
Sens left-winger Brady Tkachuk put up two goals and two assists in the victory, including a gritty backdoor tap-in tally that evened the score at two midway through the second period.
WATCH | Tkachuk spurs Sens to win in Vancouver
He used a similar move to round out the scoring with just three seconds to go in the game.
The performance came as no surprise to Ottawa coach D.J. Smith.
“That’s how he’s going to score,” he said. “He’s a big kid that can own the front of the net and he’s going to score around that area all the time and it’s going to be hard for people to stop him.”
The 20-year-old left-winger was frustrated after being stymied in the first period on Wednesday, Smith added, and came into the second with a vengeance, fore checking hard and posting up in front of the Canucks crease.
“He’s a high, high-end competitor who just loves hockey. Certainly he wants to have success and he plays hard, so I really liked his game,” the coach said.
Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes is used to seeing Tkachuk’s offensive abilities, having practised with him in the U.S. National Team Development Program and after playing college hockey against him.
“I know what a good player he is and what he does. He was very effective tonight and I expect nothing less from him,” said the rookie Canucks defenceman.
Connor Brown and Thomas Chabot each had a goal and an assist for Ottawa on Wednesday, while Filip Chlapik and Artem Anisimov also scored. Mark Borowiecki registered a pair of helpers.
Thatcher Demko stopped 23-of-29 shots for the Canucks.
“It wasn’t good. I don’t have much to say about it,” the netminder said after the game. “I want to be better, have to be better. So I’ll get back on the ice tomorrow.”
Vancouver got a goal and an assist each from Adam Gaudette and Sven Baertschi.
The pair teamed up to open the scoring 3:11 into the contest after Baertschi was hit with the puck deep in Ottawa territory.
The left-winger took advantage of the Sens’ misplay, dishing the puck off to Gaudette who fired a one-timer and beat Anderson glove side.
The 22-year-old centre now has four goals and an assist in exhibition play this year, but knows he hasn’t yet cement his spot on the roster.
“I’m doing all I can right now,” Gaudette said. “I’m giving it my all and hopefully I’m doing enough to solidify a spot, but I’ve just got to keep going until it’s said and done.”
Gaudette put up 12 points in 56 games with the Canucks last season.
Giving his all has never been an issue for the young forward, said Vancouver coach Travis Green.
“He always puts an effort in and he’s here to make the team. He’s shown that,” he said. “He’s just got to keep playing. He’s played pretty well so far.”
But with a two-way contract and a roster over-stuffed with forwards, the native of Braintree, Mass., is also a prime choice to send down to Vancouver’s American Hockey League team in Utica, N.Y.
Gaudette said he isn’t thinking too much about where he’ll start the season.
“I’m just thinking about going out, doing my own thing,” he said. “That’s what’s going to get me a spot, if I go out and word hard and play my game.”
The Canucks will play their final exhibition game of the year on Thursday when they host the Arizona Coyotes. The Senators will finish their pre-season with a trip to visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.