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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Senators

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets




WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addresses the media after today's game.

Jack Johnson talks about a big Jackets win in Ottawa, courtesy of Jackets TV.

Ryan Johansen speaks with Bob McElligott after a multi-point effort in the Jackets' 4-1 win over the Senators.

WATCH: Derek MacKenzie with a great effort down low, works to the middle and cashes in to make it 4-0. 

Derek MacKenzie adds to the lead with a hard-working goal in front of the net. Hear the replay of the goal by clicking ---> HERE.

The Blue Jackets have gotten a workmanlike effort from just about everyone on the roster to this point, and they lead 3-0 after 40 minutes at Canadian Tire Centre. Shots are 18-17 favoring the Senators, who have had four power plays that were successfully killed off by the Jackets. Columbus' PK unit has been tremendous in this game and in particular Derek MacKenzie, who was a monster on the Senators' fourth PP opportunity in the second period. Conversely, the Blue Jackets are 3-for-4 on the power play and have really taken advantage by putting pucks on net and crashing for rebounds. In goal, Bobrovsky has been solid when called upon and has done his best work while Ottawa was on the power play.

Fedor Tyutin takes a look, finds a lane, and rifles one by Anderson on the 5-on-3.

Fedor Tyutin rips a slapper past Anderson with the Jackets on a two-man advantage, making it a 3-0 game. Hear the call by clicking ---> HERE.

We've got the highlight of Umberger's power play tally.

RJ Umberger makes it a 2-0 lead for the Jackets with their second power play goal of the afternoon. Hear the call by clicking ---> HERE.

That might have been one of the Blue Jackets' best road periods of the season. They own a 1-0 lead on Ryan Johansen's power play goal, which was made from a nice play by Ryan Murray at the top of the left circle. Johansen had just enough time to hestiate a touch and snipe one past Craig Anderson's blocker side. Shots are 10-5 favoring Columbus in the first 20 minutes, and that's in large part because the Jackets spent a lot of time in the Ottawa zone. They've had bodies at the net, pressure on the puck, and a presence in the neutral zone so far...and one thing you really notice is Boone Jenner. He's playing with his hair on fire in his first game back from injury, and Todd Richards wasted no time in putting him on LW of the Jackets' top line.

Here's the highlight of Johansen's power play goal in the first period.

Ryan Johansen's sixth of the season makes it a 1-0 lead for the Blue Jackets. Hear the goal replay by clicking HERE.

UPDATE (11:20 AM):
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addressed the media prior to the game and provided updates on the lineup, Boone Jenner's return and more. Listen to his interview ---> HERE.

UPDATE (11:10 AM):
Boone Jenner makes his return this afternoon and he spoke to the media prior to today's game. Listen to his interview by clicking HERE.

UPDATE (11:00 AM):
Also from the coach...Dalton Prout will not play today due to back spasms. Jack Skille will also be a healthy scratch.

UDPATE (10:55 AM):
Todd Richards told the media today that Boone Jenner, who plays his first game since Oct. 25, will skate on the Jackets' top line with Dubinsky and Atkinson. Sergei Bobrovsky in net.

UPDATE (10:35 AM):
Bob McElligott caught up with former Senator and current Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno this morning, and talked about today's game. Listen to the interview ---> HERE.

UPDATE (10:15 AM): Here's what we know so far about today's game...

- The Blue Jackets have points in four straight games entering today's contest. They're 1-0-3 in those games, and the last three have been overtime/shootout defeats to Washington, Boston and Montreal. In two of those games, they've held a lead and let it slip away. They'll need a large effort against a red-hot Ottawa club today.

- Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal for the Blue Jackets. Craig Anderson gets the nod for the Senators.

- The last meeting between these two teams (in Columbus on Nov. 5) was not a pretty one for the Blue Jackets. The Senators took a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes and were in control throughout. Robin Lehner, starting in place of Anderson, was terrific and frustrated the Jackets who were only able to muster one goal (a power play goal from RJ Umberger early in the third period).

- Last time in Canadian Tire Centre? It was October 2011, and it wasn't fun either. Let's just forget about that one.

- The Blue Jackets are now the NHL's sixth-best face-off team (52.6 percent). Ottawa is 14th with a win percentage of 50.4.

- Nick Foligno finally faces his former team for the first time today. He missed the last meeting in Columbus due to personal reasons.

UPDATE (10:00 AM):
Just announced by the Blue Jackets - the club has recalled Jack Skille from Springfield. He should landing in Ottawa later this morning and meeting the team shortly thereafter. It doesn't look like he will play this afternoon with Boone Jenner returning, but if there's a game-time decision up front for the Jackets, Skille will have to be ready to go. 

The Blue Jackets arrived in Canada's capital city on Saturday afternoon, in advance of Sunday's matinee (1 p.m. start) against the Senators. Neither club will hold a morning skate, and we hope to speak with coach Todd Richards at some point prior to the game. When that happens, we'll post any and all updates right here at Game Day Central, along with other live updates on the ground in Ottawa. Stay tuned!

Slowly but surely, the Blue Jackets are starting to get healthy and it couldn't happen at a better time.

Boone Jenner, who has not played since a 5-2 win over Toronto on Oct. 25, is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday afternoon as the Blue Jackets face the surging Ottawa Senators. After the team placed Marian Gaborik on injured reserve late Friday night due to a sprained knee (approximate recovery time is 4-6 weeks), the Jackets need healthy bodies for many reasons, as they were already in danger of becoming very thin up front.

The Senators will start Craig Anderson in goal on Sunday, and he's played well after missing a short period of time due to a neck injury suffered during a violent collision on Nov. 3. Todd Richards said Friday that the Blue Jackets will go back to Sergei Bobrovsky after Curtis McElhinney got the net against Montreal and played well, stopping 38 shots in Columbus' 3-2 shootout loss. 

Bobby Ryan, who took a high hit from Boston's Dennis Seidenberg on Friday, is expected to play against the Blue Jackets. Ryan, acquired in an offseason trade from Anaheim, leads Ottawa in points with 20.

It has been quite the turnaround for Ottawa since these teams last met 12 days ago in Columbus.

The Senators were mired in a slump, their No. 1 goaltender was hurt, and they had no puck luck whatsoever. But they were in control for long stretches of a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 5, and Robin Lehner was spectacular between the pipes to help the Senators snap their skid.

The Blue Jackets are now that team, having lost eight of nine entering Sunday's matinee at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, and now have to make do without the services of one of their biggest offensive threats (whether or not he's been scoring lately).

Gaborik's 4-6 week timeline means the Blue Jackets aren't likely to have him back before the New Year, but they hope to get Nathan Horton in the mix sometime before then. Having Jenner back - and hopefully, Matt Calvert will follow in the not-too-distant future - means Richards can have some depth at forward and shuffle some players around who are underperforming. 

One of the key focal points for the Blue Jackets is minimizing the mental mistakes that are costing them precious points in the standings; Richards was hard on his group after Friday's game for a couple of plays that directly led to Montreal goals. An ill-advised drop pass in the neutral zone in the dying seconds of the opening period allowed Alex Galchenyuk to waltz in and make it a 2-1 game, and in the second period, a bad holding penalty was followed by a power play goal for Lars Eller. 

With those two brief lapses, the Jackets saw a 2-0 lead in the final 10 seconds of the first period dissipate by the time the game was halfway over. They are the kinds of mistakes that are causing Richards to seriously consider healthy scratches of some of his top-end players, as he said Friday that Columbus' fourth line (MacKenzie, Letestu, Boll) has been its best for the better part of a year - but this is a club that needs many more contributors playing at that level.

They'll have a stern test to pass on Sunday afternoon. The Senators play with speed, they're creative, and they have an underrated group of defensemen that can move the puck and shut things down in their own zone.

As usual, the key for the Blue Jackets is to create opportunities off their forecheck, and much like they did Thursday in Boston 


TUESDAY, 9:30 P.M.

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