Sens' heroes: Jesse Winchester, Brian Elliott, Jason Spezza
Jesse Winchester had one of the best games of his brief career, getting primary assists on both goals. Not only that, but he was a physical force at both ends of the rink, constantly outworking his opponents. Brian Elliott, meanwhile, made 32 saves (including a number of beauties), and the only one that slipped by him was a powerplay marker that no goalie could stop. He has to be big in Leclaire's absence, and he was tonight. Finally, Jason Spezza finally got another goal, during a delayed penalty call where he absolutely ripped a slapshot past Steve Mason. Spezza was great all game, showing great speed and using his big body to his advantage where needed.
Sens killer: Rick Nash
He didn't get a point, but every time Rick Nash touched the puck, every Senators fan watching the game felt their chest tighten. Nash is just incredibly strong on the puck, and created numerous chances while putting up 6 shots of his own. Luckily, Elliott was able to knock them away, but the Sens won't always be so lucky. I look forward to February when Nash dons Team Canada's sweater, so I can cheer for him rather than against him.
Feeling it tomorrow: Referee Dave Jackson
Most of the game was reffed by only one official, as poor Dave Jackson left the game after being on the receiving end of a Rick Nash hit. Nash had great speed until he was hooked by Filip Kuba, at which point he fell and collided awkwardly with Jackson. To tell you the truth, I'm kind of surprised Pierre McGuire didn't yell "hammer time".
Highlight of the night: the Alex Kovalev dangles
Most Sens fans give Alex Kovalev hell (and for good reason), but his stickhandling creativity was on exhibition all night with some of the most impressive dangles since he joined the Senators. A couple of them resulted in good scoring chances, too, and his strength on the puck was the catalyst for Spezza's goal (Kovy got the secondary assist on it).
Surprising stat: Peter Regin - 4:47 TOI
I can't tell you at what point Regin got benched, or why, but it sure was early. Number 43 rarely stepped onto the ice, despite having a great last couple of games and seemingly performing fine in this one. Ryan Keller (4:56) and Ryan Shannon (8:11) were the next lowest on the team, despite Shannon looking good when I saw him out there.
Boneheaded play of the night: Alex Picard's miss
Picard tied Spezza for a team high 5 shots on goal, but while Spezza put one in the back of the net, Picard had a golden open net that he somehow missed from point blank. Everyone in the arena was baffled by it.
Tying up the loose ends
Nick Foligno got the game winner on the powerplay, his fifth goal of the year, on a wraparound that didn't look dangerous until it was in the back of net. As per usual, Pierre (or Gord, can't remember) from TSN called him Mike Foligno. Ottawa, once again, took more penalties in the game, six to Columbus' four. Senators were on the winning end of the faceoff circle, 27-23. Chris Kelly was especially sharp, at 63%.