The Columbus Blue Jackets are off to an outstanding start for the second consecutive season, one that has carried them to the top of the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets will take a five-game winning streak into Friday’s home matchup against the Ottawa Senators, who are headed in the other direction with four straight losses.
Columbus has allowed more than one goal once during its five-game run, improving to 7-1 in overtime following Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Calgary. “I think we’re just confident (in overtime), first of all in our conditioning, so we never feel tired,” captain Nick Foligno said. “Our overtime right now, we’re confident because we work hard on it, and we’ve gotten some bounces to win games.” Ottawa’s offense is suffering from jet lag since sweeping a two-game series against Colorado in Sweden, losing four in a row while producing only five goals. “I think every team’s going to go through little ups and downs in the season,” forward Ryan Dzingel said. “I think that’s where we are now.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN5 (Ottawa), FSN Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (8-6-6): Coach Guy Boucher said Thursday that forward Zack Smith could return to the lineup Saturday against the New York Islanders, thus making sense of the decision to put Chris DiDomenico on waivers. Ottawa is 0-for-14 on the power play during the four-game skid, managing only one shot on a 5-on-3 Wednesday. “Sometimes everything goes great on the power play and you’re not really asking yourself any question,” forward Derick Brassard said. “But now maybe it’s in the back of our head. ... We’re thinking too much.”
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (14-7-1): Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky has been in net for each of the past five wins, posting a pair of shutouts and yielding a combined four goals. That came on the heels of a four-game skid in which the Blue Jackets surrendered 15 goals — 10 in three starts by Bobrovsky. “I am focusing on my things,” Bobrovsky said. “I can’t go and score the goals. I can’t control that, so I don’t think about that. I try to stay in my zone and do my things, and trust that the rest of my teammates will take care of it.”
1. Bobrovsky has stopped 174 of 180 shots over his past six starts.
2. Brassard is mired in a 12-game goalless drought after scoring six times in the first eight games.
3. The Blue Jackets have killed off their last 14 short-handed situations.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 3, Senators 1