Senators Fall to Blue Jackets 4-1
A recap of tonight's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Ottawa Senators.
Columbus came out strong to start the game, with young All-Star Ryan Johansen leading the way. Midway through the period, Ottawa got an excellent opportunity when Corey Tropp and Jack Johnson took consecutive penalties, giving the Sens about 30 seconds of 5-on-3 time. Despite some good chances, the Sens were unable to breakthrough. Ottawa killed off a late penalty to Alex Chiasson and after 20 minutes the teams were still tied at zero. Shots 12-11 in favour of Columbus.
The second period started with a good chance for the Zibanejad line on a 4-on-2 but the trio couldn't convert. After a Chris Neil-Dalton Prout tilt, Mark Borowiecki made some noise by taking the puck away from Nick Foligno, charging up the ice, and firing the puck at the Columbus goal. At the halfway point of the second period, Robin Lehner made an excellent save on Tropp on a Blue Jackets 2-on-1. Shortly after, the fourth line of David Legwand, Erik Condra, and Chris Neil kept the Jackets hemmed in their own end for an entire shift. Curtis McElhinney and Robin Lehner continued to be the game's best players and the game was still tied 0-0 after two periods. Shots 24-22 in favour of Columbus.
Early in the third, Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson had an excellent opportunity to opening the scoring on a 2-on-1, but Hoffman's pass was broken up by a sliding Columbus defenseman. Moments later the Jackets opened the scoring when Johansen led a rush in to the Ottawa zone. Cody Ceci got turned around on the play, losing his man and preventing Lehner from making the rebound save on Cam Atkinson. Condra and Legwand had great chances to tie the game midway through the period after another nice shift from the fourth line, but were turned aside by McElhinney. A couple minutes later, Nick Foligno added another goal for Columbus, after charging through several Senators, beating Ceci cleaning, and putting a backhand five hole on Lehner. Lehner will want that one back, but it was also a great, strong, individual effort from Foligno, and poorly played by Ceci. A minute and a half later, the fourth line continued its strong night when the trio of Legwand, Neil, and Condra crashed the net, with Condra swatting home Ottawa's first goal of the season. The Sens went to the powerplay shortly after and despite some excellent pressure, couldn't notch the equalizer. Ottawa came close to tying things up late, the best chance to Mark Stone, who was robbed by a diving McElhinney. An empty-netter made it 3-1, and a snip from Matt Letestu with seconds left on the clock made it 4-1 for the Jackets. Shots 35-33 in favour of the Sens.
Sens Heroes: Erik Condra, David Legwand, Chris Neil
The fourth line had a good night, led by Erik Condra. Condra was great on the forecheck and scored Ottawa's only goal on the night. The line spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, Legwand had 6 shots, and Chris Neil did the things he's supposed to do after apparently asking to play more before the game: he had a fight, 6 hits, 1 shot, and drew a penalty. Pretty good night for a veteran who suddenly has a lot of eyes on him.
Sens Hero: Mark Stone
He didn't make it on the score sheet, but he was buzzing all night. Numerous good scoring chances, 6 shots, and the opportunity for writers to use the predictable "hands of Stone line".
Honourable Mention: Robin Lehner
The score line makes this look worse than it was and his 90.6 SV% isn't flattering, but Lehner was pretty great in this game, especially in the second period. Sure, he wants that second goal back, but this loss isn't on him.
Sens Zero: Cody Ceci
A forgettable night for the young blueliner. Ceci was beaten soundly on both goals and was on the ice for every goal Columbus scored tonight.
Sens Killer: Curtis McElhinney
McElhinney stood tall in the Columbus goal all night, but especially in the third period when the Senators pressed hard. He finished the game with a 97.1 SV%.
Sens Killer: Nick Foligno
The former Senator got the better of his old team tonight, with a great individual effort for the game winning goal.
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick:
Shot chart via ESPN:
Highlights via NHL.com: