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Game Preview: Blue Jackets meet new-look Senators in Columbus

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Ottawa Senators made hockey headlines earlier this week when the club announced on Tuesday the acquisition of defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a blockbuster nine-player trade.

In that deal, the Senators also acquired forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and defenseman prospect Cody Donaghey from the Leafs in exchange for defenseman Jared Cowen and forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg as well as Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Phaneuf, the Leafs' former captain, recorded 24 points and registered 67 penalty minutes in 51 games for Toronto this season (but more on him later).

Since the trade, the Senators dropped two games — falling to the Detroit Red Wings, 3-1, on Wednesday and the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3, on Thursday. The Senators will be looking to bounce back against the Jackets on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.

The Jackets are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. In their most recent game, they fought back and tied things up against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night at the home barn and won the game, 4-3, in a shootout.

Columbus will be looking to continue its success on the third game of its five-game home stand.

The Blue Jackets and Senators last faced off on Nov. 19 at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario. It was a disappointing result for the visitors, who were blanked 3-0 by Ottawa.

Despite a strong start, and some alert and quick plays with the puck, the Jackets were unable to beat Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who played well and was the difference in the game.

Anderson made 25 saves, and Erik Karlsson scored two goals in the second period to give the Senators a 2-0 lead. The third goal came in the final minutes of regulation, after Kyle Turris iced it and sealed the 3-0 victory.  

The Jackets are 6-11-2 in the all-time series against the Senators, and 0-2-0 in the 2015-16 season series. 

The Senators game against the Blue Jackets will mark Dion Phaneuf’s third wearing an Ottawa sweater. In his first two games, he recorded two assists with both coming earlier this week against the Avalanche.

Phaneuf is a hard-nosed veteran of the league, having been drafted by Calgary ninth overall during the 2003 NHL Draft and earning a reputation as one of the NHL's hardest open-ice hitters. The 30-year-old blueliner spent five seasons with the Flames and his last seven seasons with the Maple Leafs before being traded earlier this week.

Not only can he play a physical style, but Phaneuf is also a presence on the power play, where you can bet the Senators will look to get him opportunities to unleash his heavy one-timer from the left point. 

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