December 30, 2017 / 3:44 AM / a year ago

Blue Jackets seeking answers after collapse vs. Senators

Blue Jackets seeking answers after collapse vs. Senators

OTTAWA — The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for answers after blowing blew a two-goal lead for the second straight game.

Nick Paul scored 5:46 remaining in the second period to spark the Ottawa Senators to a 5-4 victory over Columbus on Friday night.

The Senators were trailing 3-1 in the second period and scored four goals in a row to take control of the game and end a four-game losing streak.

Paul delivered the key goal when his soft shot at the net was played into a goal by Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The puck hit the blade of Bobrovsky’s stick and went between his skates to give the Senators some life.

Matt Duchene tied the game on a breakaway with 1:08 left in the second period. Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan scored nearly two minutes apart in the third to give the Senators a 5-3 lead with 10:39 remaining and they survived a power-play goal by Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski with 32 seconds left in the third and hung on for their fourth win the last 20 games (4-13-3).

“After they scored those two goals at the end of the second period, it gave them life,” Werenski said. “We just didn’t come out strong in the third period and they did. We talked about it between periods, that it’s going to happen, it’s a tied hockey game and the next one’s huge and we didn’t elevate our game so it’s kind of our fault, I think.”

Ottawa’s comeback occurred two nights after the Blue Jackets blew a two-goal lead at Pittsburgh and settled for a point in a 5-4 shootout loss.

“To get one out of four points isn’t good enough, especially in the circumstances we were in,” Werenski said. “We had two-goal leads in both games. We would like to have all four points, but it’s hockey. They weren’t good finishes for us by any means, but we’re going to move forward.”

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said his team should have been capable of shaking off Paul’s fluky goal.

“If we can’t get our game back and get some sort of push at that point in time, because of that goal then there’s major problems,” he said. “Any goal, whether it be good or bad, gives a team a lift, but that’s how you play in the National Hockey League, is handle momentum, get momentum back on your side when you lose it and we didn’t.”

Derick Brassard also scored for the Senators (12-16-8) and Mike Condon made 21 saves.

“We’ve just got to keep building,” Duchene said. “Hopefully the tide is starting to turn a little bit. I think that’s been a big part of things for us. We haven’t been rewarded offensively and then we start to get away from our game a little bit and things snowball. Hopefully that starts to come when we play the way we did tonight.”

Paul, who scored his first goal of the season, said he was just trying to get the puck on the net when he saw the potential for some traffic.

“I saw (Nate) Thompson driving the net, so I just threw it at the net and it ended up going in off his stick,” Paul said. “It was a nice feeling to give the team a little momentum and we came back hard.

“I’ve never scored one like that, but it’s nice to have the bounce go my way there.”

Sonny Milano, with two goals, and Josh Anderson scored for the Blue Jackets (22-14-3), who lost in regulation for the first time in five games (2-1-2). Bobrovsky made 23 saves.

The teams combined for four goals in a span of 3:09 early in the second period.

Milano gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead at 4:15 and Brassard tied it at 5:42.

Anderson and Milano scored 13 seconds apart to put the Blue Jackets ahead.

After Artemi Panarin created a turnover, he passed the puck to Anderson on the right wing and he scored his 14th goal of the season on a shot over Condon’s glove at 7:11.

After a giveaway by Senators captain Erik Karlsson, Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones passed to Milano on the left wing and he scored on a shot over Condon’s glove hand at 7:24 to make it 3-1.

NOTES: Blue Jackets D Zach Werenski, who had missed four games with an undisclosed injury, returned Friday. ... The Blue Jackets assigned D Gabriel Carlsson to Cleveland of the AHL on Friday. ... Injured for Columbus were D Ryan Murray (upper body), C Brandon Dubinsky (fractured orbital bone), C Alexander Wennberg (back) and RW Cam Atkinson (fractured foot). ... Out for the Senators were Zack Smith (shoulder), Chris Wideman (hamstring), Mark Borowiecki (concussion) and Gabriel Dumont (ankle). ... Senators D Fredrik Claesson served the first game of a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Boston F Noel Acciari on Thursday. ... Jones’ assist on Milano’s second goal gave him a career-high six-game point streak.

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