November 10, 2014

Though confident, the Ottawa Senators aren't too caught up in their current winning stretch.

They seek a season-high fifth consecutive victory Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks, who are looking to win back-to-back home games for the first time in two months.

Third-liner Zack Smith scored in his third straight game and Craig Anderson stopped 31 shots as Ottawa (29-26-6) snapped a four-game road slide by opening its three-city trek through Western Canada with Tuesday's 4-1 victory at Edmonton. The Senators have allowed six goals during their four-game winning streak after yielding 11 in a three-game skid.

''We've done a good job of stringing some wins together here,'' said Smith, who has six of his career-high 15 goals in the last nine games. "To get one off the start of this road trip is huge. We need a big road trip to make a big push here at the end.''

Ottawa is 11th in the Eastern Conference but within striking distance of the final wild-card spot. This current surge gives the Senators hope but also serves as a reminder there is little room for error.

"We want to keep this thing going, because we still have a lot of work to do," forward Curtis Lazar told the Senators' official website. "Winning is fun and confidence can be a scary thing, but we can't look to far ahead.

"The game against Vancouver is going to be big, and anytime the puck drops we have to be ready to go."

Ottawa has won back-to-back road games once in its last 18 away from home. It's recorded four points over the last three trips to Vancouver and also beat the Canucks 3-2 on Nov. 12.

After being outscored 22-9 during a season-high six-game (0-5-1) home losing streak, Vancouver broke out for a 5-1 rout of Colorado on Sunday. The Canucks (23-24-12) haven't won two straight at Rogers Arena since a three-game run Dec. 7-26.

''It was good to get some separation, let the guys feel good about themselves,'' said Ryan Miller, who made 37 saves after yielding seven goals in his previous two starts. ''In spite of how the games have been going there's been some hard work.''

The Canucks are 11th in the West, but unlike Ottawa, they have more ground to make up in order to move into playoff position. At least they have something positive to build on.

"Our last game was good and now it's a matter of keeping the same intensity for the upcoming game and try to play the same way," Vancouver forward Sven Baertschi said.

Forward Markus Granlund appears set to make his Canucks debut after being acquired from Calgary on Monday for rookie Hunter Shinkaruk. Granlund, who has bounced back and forth between the NHL and AHL in his third season, had four goals and three assists in 31 games for the Flames.

Henrik Sedin equaled a career high with four assists Sunday. He has 16 in his last 13 games against the Senators.

Teammate Jannik Hansen has four goals in six contests but none in 12 against Ottawa.

In net throughout the winning streak, Anderson also has a 1.61 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in his last eight starts.

Ottawa announced Wednesday it signed rookie defenseman Chris Wideman to a two-year, $1.6 million contract extension. He has five goals and four assists while averaging 14 minutes in 44 games.

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