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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Senators

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA -- In a season full of inconsistencies, there are three teams the Ottawa Senators have beaten twice in 2014-15: the Boston Bruins, the Arizona Coyotes and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Senators will have a chance to get their third win of the season against the Blue Jackets on Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports 2). The Senators won twice against the Blue Jackets in October when Columbus was hard hit by injuries.

The Blue Jackets are in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the 12th-place Senators.

A big reason why the Blue Jackets find themselves in that position has been injuries; they've lost 317 man-games to injury.

That number will grow with defensemen James Wisniewski and Ryan Murray sitting out after sustaining lower-body injuries during Columbus' 7-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

Cody Goloubef and Dalton Prout will replace them in the lineup.

"We'll miss [Wisniewski] and Ryan in our lineup, but we've got two competent guys going into the lineup, guys who are going to be hungry," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "They haven't played in a while so it will probably be a bit of an adjustment to the timing and the speed of the game, but once they settle in they are going to be impact players for us."

It was another good news/bad news scenario for the Blue Jackets. Richards liked the fact that all seven Blue Jackets goals came at even strength against the Blues. But they also lost two of their top six defensemen. Richards said updates on their status could come as early as after the game Saturday.

Wisniewski and Murray did not travel to Ottawa.

"It's par for the course," Richards said. "It's kind of the way it's gone. You have some success, maybe something to build off and we do. But [injuries] take some of that away, some of that enjoyment of winning and doing the right things. It softens it because of the guys we lost."

No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky remains out with a groin injury; Curtis McElhinney is expected to start for Columbus.

"It was a different hockey team for them early on," Senators wing Clarke MacArthur said of Ottawa's early success against Columbus. "They had a lot of injuries and we were able to take advantage of them a little bit.

"We want to keep close. Hopefully they used up a lot of their goals last night. If you give them chances and you give them opportunities, they've got guys who can score. [Nick] Foligno, [Ryan] Johansen, those guys have been putting pucks in all year.

Foligno and Johansen each had one goal and two assists Friday as the Blue Jackets ended the Blues' six-game winning streak. It was the Blues' first regulation loss since Jan. 2.

Foligno has 20 goals and 48 points this season, both personal single-season bests.

"They're definitely coming in pretty hot right now and it would be nice to shut them down," said Senators defenseman Cody Ceci, who will play his 100th NHL game Saturday. "They're rolling pretty good and we've been struggling scoring. It'd be nice to turn the tables tonight and get a few goals, put them on their heels. Hopefully they're tired coming in after playing last night."

With Senators No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson out because of a hand injury, Robin Lehner will start his fifth straight game for the Senators. After giving up four goals in the first game of that stretch, Lehner has given up two goals in each of his past three games.

Scoring goals has become an issue for the Senators. After they had a season-high seven against Arizona on Jan. 31, they have been held to one goal in each of their past two games.

The Ottawa power play is 0-for-10 in the past three games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Scott Hartnell - Ryan Johansen - Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno - Brandon Dubinsky - Corey Tropp

Artem Anisimov - Alexander Wennberg - Jack Skille

Matt Calvert - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson

Kevin Connauton - David Savard

Jordan Leopold - Dalton Prout

Curtis McElhinney

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Cody Goloubef

Injured: Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), Nathan Horton (back), Ryan Murray (lower body), James Wisniewski (lower body), Boone Jenner (back), Brian Gibbons (knee), Jeremy Morin (upper body)


Clark MacArthur - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Milan Michalek - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Curtis Lazar - Alex Chiasson

Erik Condra - David Legwand - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Eric Gryba

Robin Lehner

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Injured: Craig Anderson (hand), Chris Phillips (undisclosed)

Status report: Senators coach Dave Cameron said Anderson, who hurt his blocker hand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 21, might be well enough to back up when the Senators play the Sabres in Buffalo on Tuesday. … Phillips is not playing because of what Cameron called "wear and tear."

Who's hot: Hartnell has one goal and two assists in his past two games. … Hoffman has a goal and two assists in his past three games.

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