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Senators, Blue Jackets look to snap skids

by Brian Compton

SENATORS (22-20-10) at BLUE JACKETS (26-22-4)


Last 10: Ottawa 5-2-3; Columbus 8-2-0

Season series: This is the third and final game between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets. Each team earned a 4-1 victory over a 12-day span in November.

Big story: Columbus has lost two in a row after setting a franchise record with eight consecutive victories. The Blue Jackets had to travel after suffering a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Monday night; Ottawa has been idle since Saturday.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa will be hoping to avoid a three-game skid after suffering a 6-3 loss Saturday at Carolina. With every point crucial for their playoff push, rumors are swirling that the Senators may look to make a trade before the NHL breaks for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"We identified what our team is right now and possible targets for possible trades," assistant general manager Pierre Dorion told the Ottawa Sun. "Not that we're going to make any trades, but we always have to be ready for that possibility [with] players who we feel could help us in the short or long term."

The Senators announced Monday that they recalled forward Stéphane Da Costa from its American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators.

Da Costa, 24, began this season with Ottawa and appeared in four of the Senators' first seven games. A Paris native, Da Costa has appeared in 39 NHL games, all with the Senators. He has seven points (four goals, three assists) and 10 penalty minutes.

In 37 AHL games this season, Da Costa has scored 12 goals and 25 assists, and is plus-11.

Blue Jackets: Hoping to avenge a 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, the Blue Jackets raced out to a 2-0 lead Monday by scoring twice in 17 seconds early in the first period on goals from Derek MacKenzie and RJ Umberger.

But Carolina responded with three goals in the third period, sending Columbus to its second straight defeat. The loss dropped the Blue Jackets from third to fourth in the Metropolitan Division, and they are one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I don't know if we were trying to hold on or playing the game to win," coach Todd Richards said. "We gave up three goals in less than three minutes. For 57 minutes, I thought we managed it fairly well. But three minutes, that's the game. We gave them opportunities, and they cashed in. A couple lost battles along the walls turned into turnovers, and they capitalized."

Who's hot: Senators forward Kyle Turris has seven goals in his past eight games. … MacKenzie has scored in three straight games, and Umberger has three goals in the past four.

Injury report: Ottawa forward Mark Stone (upper body) and defenseman Chris Phillips (lower body) are out. … Columbus forwards Marian Gaborik (clavicle) and Jared Boll (ankle) and defenseman Denis Savard (illness) are out.

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