Blue Jackets-Senators Preview
Hashing things out in the locker room during their last game helped the Ottawa Senators to a third straight win following a season-opening loss.
They’d prefer to avoid another slow start against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Senators look for Clarke MacArthur to continue doing his part Saturday night when they try to slow the Blue Jackets, who’ve also gotten off to a strong start this season.
Ottawa (3-1-0) stumbled early against Colorado on Thursday, giving up three goals in the opening period before a team discussion in the locker room during intermission ignited a rally that led to a 5-3 victory in the opener of a four-game homestand.
"I don’t know if we were nervous in the first or what we were doing, but we didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t win the 1-on-1 battles," captain Erik Karlsson said.
"We came in and no one was happy with how we played. We just kind of had it out and had some words and took a deep breath after, and (coach Paul MacLean) came in calm and gave us directions of what to do in the second, and we just came out and executed."
MacArthur has been particularly effective, scoring the go-ahead goal against the Avalanche after netting his first of the season in Monday’s 1-0 win at Florida.
The left wing hasn’t recorded a goal in his last two against Columbus (3-1-0) after scoring three times in the previous two.
Karlsson, though, has three goals and two assists in his past four matchups, finding the net in a 4-1 loss in the most recent at home Nov. 17.
The Blue Jackets, who scored the first four goals in that contest, built a three-goal lead Friday before holding on for a 3-2 win over Calgary.
"They got a quick goal and kind of got the momentum and put us back on our heels," said right wing Jack Skille, who got his second goal of the season in the opening period. "We just have to work on our killer mentality as a team. When we get ahead like that, we have to keep pushing teams and keep playing the way that got us there."
Columbus has scored 13 goals distributed among seven players, including three from Ryan Johnson in the past two games. The center led the club with 33 goals and 63 points last season – both career highs – and had two points at Ottawa in November.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves in that one to improve to 4-1-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average in six career starts against the Senators.
The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner has started all four games this season, compiling a 2.01 GAA after making 29 stops Friday. However, it’s unclear if he’ll get the nod as the Jackets close their first back-to-back set of the season.
Backup Curtis McElhinney, though, has allowed six goals while losing both of his career games versus Ottawa.
One of them will try to keep Kyle Turris without a goal for the 10th straight matchup. The center hasn’t scored in three straight games overall since netting one in a 3-2 loss at Nashville in Ottawa’s opener Oct. 9.
Turris, however, has one point in each game this season.