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Post Game: Senators 3, Blue Jackets 2

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

THE RUNDOWN
“Starting the game on time” is something we often hear coaches say, and doing so was especially imperative for the Blue Jackets, playing their second game in as many nights.

They were strong at the outset and tested Senators goaltender Robin Lehner early and often, but the big Swede was able to keep the visitors off the scoreboard in the first period (and at times, in spectacular fashion). He denied Alexander Wennberg on the door step with a diving paddle save, and then snuffed out a point-blank chance for Cam Atkinson to preserve a 1-0 Ottawa lead after 20 minutes, courtesy of a David Legwand goal.

Ottawa made it 2-0 in the second period on a play that injured Blue Jackets starter Curtis McElhinney. It was a 2-on-1 for the Senators and Erik Karlsson’s centering pass went off Nick Foligno and slid into the crease, and both Foligno and the puck went barreling into McElhinney. The puck crossed the line, the Senators took a two-goal lead, and McElhinney remained down on the ice.

He left the game and did not return, giving way to Sergei Bobrovsky - who did everything he could to give the Jackets a chance to win after coming on in relief.

Two goals in 41 seconds - from Foligno and David Savard - brought the Blue Jackets back to all square in the second period and stunned the Senators. Columbus, which had played pretty well throughout the game and particularly did well to drive play in the Ottawa zone, had plenty of looks but couldn’t beat Lehner a third time.

Mike Hoffman, a healthy scratch recently for coach Paul MacLean, benefitted from a fortunate bounce and an inadvertent pick by the linesman that momentarily screened Jack Johnson from the play. Hoffman broke in and beat Bobrovsky under the crossbar to give Ottawa a 3-2 lead with 10:22 to play.

PIVOTAL MOMENT
Hoffman’s goal came after the Blue Jackets had put a string of good shifts together midway through the third period and also seemed to take a little wind out of their sails. It stood up as the game-winning goal in the Senators’ fourth consecutive win.

THREE STARS
1 - Hoffman (OTT): a goal, an assist and some nifty stick work in tight that led to the game-winning goal.

2 - Lehner (OTT): 38 saves for the Ottawa goaltender and a few were 10-bell stops.

3 - Foligno (CBJ): the former Senator was a presence all night long, and played a huge role in both Jackets’ goals that tied the game.

UP NEXT
at San Jose Sharks
Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET
SAP Center | San Jose, CA

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