The Blue Jackets made the trip up to Ottawa to kick off a stretch of three games in four days riding a three-game win streak. They were also seeking some retribution for the 7-3 whooping the Senators laid on them last month in Nationwide Arena.
As the game started, there were not a ton of chances. It took the Sens almost 11 minutes just to register a shot. Boone Jenner went to the box 7:16 into the period on a chintzy slashing call. The PK was strong and has been for the last couple weeks now. Kevin Connauton scrapped with Curtis Lazar for his second career NHL fight which was more of a wrestling match.
With just under six minutes left, Cody Goloubef hauled down Mike Hoffman on a breakaway. McElhinney, making his first start since November 6th, stopped the penalty shot by Hoffman. Late in the period, Scott Hartnell drew an interference call which also was questionable. There was no score after 20 minutes.
The Jackets could do nothing early in the 2nd period with the power play and even with a few second of a 5-on-3. A few minutes in Matt Calvert ringed one off the post. The teams traded hits in a very physical game - 68 hits in all to go along with 16 penalties.
Ottawa would break through on the scoreboard first, though. At 16:24 of the second period, Jean Gabriel Pageau skated the puck into the zone and fired a shot on net from high on the right. The puck hit the most behind CMac and kicked out to his left. Erik Karlsson was there to deposit the puck into the open net and make it a 1-0 game for the home team.
Less than two minutes later, Karlsson struck again. The Ottawa captain sent a wrist-shot to the net from the half-wall to McElhinney's left. The puck deflected off something and changed direction. CMac had no chance and it was 2-0 heading into the break.
The physicality continued in the 3rd period with a parade of players heading in and out of the sin bin. Columbus pushed to find the two goals to tie it up but could not beat Craig Anderson. Anderson saved all 25 shots he faced for his 30th career shutout.
Late in the game, David Savard delivered a shoulder-to-shoulder to hit on Bobby Ryan in the corner. Ryan went down in a heap and Savard went to the box. It appeared the defenseman was called for two minutes for boarding, which would have given Columbus just a couple minutes after the penalty to pull the goalie.
Instead, after watching Ryan struggle to the dressing room, the officials told Savard to head off the ice as well as he received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. We all understand that dangerous hits should be eliminated from the game and penalized accordingly, but this was not close. Savard did not target Ryan's head, the hit was not late, and he made lateral shoulder to shoulder contact. There was no malicious intent on Savard's part.
The five + game misconduct essentially ended the chances for the Jackets. They pulled McElhinney late to try to get a goal but Kyle Turris scored on the empty net to give the Senators a 3-0 win.
Final - Senators 3-0
Outside of some scrambly play in the second period, the Jackets played pretty well in this one. They just could not solve Anderson. Perhaps they could have fired some more shots to create rebound opportunities. It also helps the opponent when they have Erik Karlsson and Columbus simply cannot match that firepower.
If you could not tell, the refs were questionable at best in this one.
No time to dwell for the CBJ as they return to Nationwide tonight to take on Nashville. Expect Bobrovsky to get the start and we will keep you updated if there are any other lineup changes.