The Columbus Blue Jackets came into their New Year’s Eve showdown 6-4-1 in their last 11 games Dec. 31 games at Nationwide Arena. But for Columbus, the only number that mattered was the one that goes in the win column.
After a 1-1 stalemate through two periods, the Blue Jackets broke through for five third-period goals, the top line of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Cam Atkinson combined for nine points (three goals, six assists), and Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves as the Blue Jackets defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-3.
Ottawa was held to one shot on net through nearly the first half of the opening frame. There was no first period scoring but Zack Smith represented one of the lone best chances between both teams when a breakaway late in the first was stifled by Seth Jones and and the goaltender Bobrovsky.
Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel, the former Ohio State Buckeye, scored the games’ first goal during the second period.
A fight between Josh Anderson and Mark Borowiecki occurred after a hit that Anderson took exception to, and the resulting cross checking infraction to Anderson gave Ottawa their first power play of the game.
Dzingel’s goal occurred seconds after the power play ended, and on the wrist shot on a down and out Bobrovsky. Bobby Ryan and Chris Tierney assisted on the play.
Just 1:36 later, Zach Werenski evened the score at 1-1, his eighth of the season, and extended his points streak to five games. The assist by Artemi Panarin also gave him a five-game points streak and Dubois earned an assist on the play as well.
Ottawa goalie, Marcus Hogberg, was making his second NHL start, his NHL debut coming Saturday night in a 3-2 loss to the Capitals. Hogberg held his own throughout the game making 32 saves.
Columbus broke through in the third period to take their first lead of the game when Dubois scored off a rebound, coming from an initial shot by Seth Jones off the post.
Dubois’ tally extended the lead to 3-1 after just throwing the puck off Hogberg and finding its way through.
The Senators, however, would score twice, with Bobby Ryan’s goal coming just 16 seconds after Dubois. Mikkel Boedker’s shot from the right circle of Bobrovsky was deflected off David Savard’s skate, giving credit to Ryan for his seven of the season.
And then Dzingel scoring his second of the night off the goalmouth pass to tie the score 3-3.
Anthony Duclair had a potential goal waived off due to goaltender interference when he was pushed into the net by Senators defender, Christian Wolanin. The net was also dislodged from the moorings before the puck crossed the line so no coaches’ challenge could occur.
The Jackets would find the go-ahead tally with just over two minutes remaining when Atkinson fired a pass from the goal line to Werenski in front of the net to put Columbus ahead 4-3.
Atkinson’s 24th sealed the deal with the empty-net to put the Jackets ahead 5-3.
And Anderson added to the party with his 14th, firing a slap shot from the other end.
The five-goal third period matches a franchise-record, with this being the third occurrence. The last time it happened was against the Canadiens in the second period on Nov. 4, 2016, a 10-0 win. With the 6-3 victory, the Blue Jackets flip the calendar to 2019, having won six of its previous seven contests.
Dubois set a career-high with four points (two goals, two assists).
Nick Foligno missed the game to be with his daughter during a scheduled surgery in Boston. Their next game is Friday, Jan. 4 at the Hurricanes.