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Senators score five goals in a row, defeat Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- There are a lot of questions surrounding the winless Columbus Blue Jackets, but one has already been answered.

Can momentum from a strong finish last season carry over?

The Blue Jackets are off to the worst start in their 15-year history following a 7-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus (0-4-0) surpassed the 0-3-1 record it held after four games in 2011-12.

This comes after a 15-1-1 record to end the 2014-15 season.

It must seem like a distant memory after the Senators (3-1-0) scored the final five goals.

"It's disappointing," said Columbus left wing Nick Foligno said. "It's not at all the way we expected to be playing."

The former Senators player is in his first season as Blue Jackets captain, but he never expected to be in a position where he felt compelled to address his teammates post-game a week into the season.

"It's us getting back to basics and going back to the drawing board understanding who we are," Foligno said. "We've obviously lost it somewhere along the way. It's disappointing because we're only four games in.

"It's got to be found and found quick, because this League is getting away from us."

Seven players scored for Ottawa and defenseman Erik Karlsson had a career-high four assists.

The Senators rallied three times to take 4-3 lead after two periods when Mika Zibanejad took a feed from Bobby Ryan and wrapped the puck around goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with 2:39 left in the second.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau extended the lead 75 seconds into the third. Mike Hoffman scored nine minutes later and Ryan had an empty-net goal with 4:05 remaining.

Ryan and Mika Zibanejad each and had a goal and two assists. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist and Mark Stone two assists. Craig Anderson made 37 saves.

It was exactly the response Ottawa wanted after a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

"Once we got quality scoring chances, we bore down and we were good around their net and that's ultimately what won the game for us," said Karlsson, who has seven assists.

In the first 30 minutes, Columbus got goals by Brandon Saad, Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky, but each time the Senators responded with goals from Marc Methot, Milan Michalek and Turris.

"We traded chances way too much early and gave them some rushes," Ryan said. "We knew they were going to come out hard and I thought we weathered the storm. But when [Zibanejad] scored to give us the lead, we were able to grab the reins."

Holding a lead has been a problem for the Blue Jackets; they led for a total of 74 seconds in the first three games.

Against the Senators, Saad gave Columbus a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the game, but Methot tied it 3:39 later.

The Blue Jackets' other leads lasted 2:46 and 4:58.

"We don't seem to have the confidence in tight games right now," Foligno said.

Saad has three goals, all on the power play. He tied his career high for power-play goals set with the Chicago Blackhawks in 78 games in 2013-14. He had two power-play goals in 82 games last season with Chicago.

Saad also was critical to Ottawa's first goal when he redirected Methot's shot from the left point past Bobrovsky, who had 21 saves and gave up five goals on the first 16 shots he faced.

Bobrovsky has not played well, but the support in front of him has been missing.

"Our D zone has been subpar," Columbus left wing Scott Hartnell said. "We're giving up Grade-A chances. We're not giving up a lot of shots, but they're right there in the slot."

Even though the Senators controlled the third period, coach Dave Cameron didn't feel the lead was safe until Hoffman's shot from the high slot made it 6-3 with 10:48 to play.

"Once we were able to get that sixth goal, we took the winds out of their sails and were able to bring it home," Cameron said.

The Blue Jackets have been outscored 20-9 in their four games. They know they let a chance to win slip way over the final half of the game.

"We had some opportunities, but there's no real answer for the game getting away from us like that," Foligno said. "It's disgusting. I wish I had more answers."

Senators forward Clarke MacArthur sustained an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return.

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