Tag Archives: Jackets

Joonas Korpisalo, Blue Jackets shut out Maple Leafs in Game 1 goalie duel

The Maple Leafs have known since late May the Columbus Blue Jackets were on the docket to begin the NHL’s restart.

Toronto watched video, discussed tactics and practised different ways to break down an opponent with a grinding, soul-sucking defensive structure.

Seeing it up close was an entirely different matter.

Joonas Korpisalo made 28 saves in his first post-season appearance, Cam Atkinson scored in the third period, and the Blue Jackets downed the Leafs 2-0 on Sunday to take an early lead in their best-of-five qualifying round series.

Sure, Toronto had chances, but not nearly enough. The Leafs weren’t able to get to the inside against a tough blue-line corps led by Seth Jones and Zack Werenski that mostly neutralized Auston Matthews’ line with the help of Pierre-Luc Dubois up front.

“I don’t think anything really surprised us,” said Matthews, who was third in the league with 47 goals in 2019-20. “They play a pretty straightforward game, and you know what to expect every night. They’re gonna compete, they’re gonna play physical.”

Frederik Andersen stopped 33 shots for Toronto, but was fooled on Atkinson’s innocent effort from the top of the right circle 65 seconds into the third.

WATCH | Korpisalo, Atkinson lift Blue Jackets past Leafs:

Joonas Korpisalo made 28 saves and Cam Atkinson scored in the third period to propel the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. 1:14

“His initial release looked to be a little bit higher,” said the Leafs netminder, who was beaten under his blocker. “I reacted up and obviously made a mistake.

“That cost us a goal and eventually the game, unfortunately.”

The Leafs were designated as the “home” team inside the friendly confines of a cavernous, empty Scotiabank Arena as the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed in the NHL’s 24-team restart to a campaign halted by the COVID-19 pandemic 4 1/2 months ago.

Alex Wennberg scored into an empty net with 18.2 seconds left for ninth-seeded Columbus, which will now look to grab a stranglehold with a victory in Tuesday’s Game 2.

‘Fun to play’

“I felt pretty confident from the get-go,” said the 26-year-old Korpisalo. “The boys played really good in front of me, battling for me to see the puck.

“That was awesome. That was fun to play.”

After the Blue Jackets nudged ahead early in the third, the Leafs tried to get their high-octane offence going, but were unable to get many second and third opportunities, and were held without a shot over the final 6:12 of regulation.

Andersen kept the Toronto in it with a toe save on Alexandre Texier with under three minutes to go, but his teammates couldn’t find a way through to Korpisalo before Wennberg sealed it.

“They did what they do best, and what we were prepared for,” said Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, who played for Columbus bench boss John Tortorella with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the early 2000s. “We knew it was going to be difficult.

“Now we’re out on the ice and you feel it.”

Goaltender duel

Following a scoreless opening 20 minutes that featured a couple of clear-cut chances, the goalies stole the show in the second.

Korpisalo, who got the nod ahead of first-year sensation Elvis Merzlikins, denied Matthews at the side of the net on an early power play, while Andersen stopped Eric Robinson on a break and Texier from the slot.

WATCH | Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe on matchup with Columbus:

Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly and Shledon Keefe spoke after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 in the first game of their Qualification Round. 12:59

The Columbus netminder had his bench up banging their sticks on the boards later in the period when he robbed Matthews with the glove on a one-timer.

“He played unbelievable,” Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard said. “He made some key saves, I think on Matthews there in the second was a turning point for us.

“That was huge for our game.”

Jones then fired a shot off the crossbar before Andersen robbed Oliver Bjorkstrand — both players are from Herning, Denmark — with an exceptional toe stop that the deserved a standing ovation, not the din of canned crowd noise.

“I’d expect more of these games moving forward,” Leafs blue-liner Morgan Rielly said of the defensive struggle. “And I would also expect for us to be able to handle them better.”

Robertson makes NHL debut

Rookie winger Nick Robertson suited up for Toronto after scoring 55 goals in 46 games in 2019-20 with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, becoming the first 18-year-old to make his NHL debut in the post-season since Jarome Iginla in 1996.

Robertson had a terrific opportunity on his first shift, but Korpisalo was there with his right pad. The Leafs, who were back in their home locker room after making way for the Montreal Canadiens in Tuesday’s exhibition game, were otherwise on their heels the rest of the first half of the first period.

Andersen made a good stop on a Dubois breakaway before Matthews stole the puck and chimed a shot off Korpisalo’s crossbar. Werenski then did the same off the near post at the other end moments later.

Healing during the hiatus

Both teams were close to full health after the schedule was suspended March 12. Jones would have been a serious question mark with an ankle injury had the playoffs started as usual in April, while Toronto blue-liner Jake Muzzin (hand) and Ilya Mikheyev (wrist laceration) are also back. Leafs winger Andreas Johnsson (knee) continues to work his way back and could be available as the resumption of play progresses, should his team advance.

Prior to Sunday, the Leafs last played a meaningful game March 10 — a stretch of 145 days — while the Blue Jackets’ last suited up for real March 8.

Toronto and Columbus sat with identical points percentages (.579) when the novel coronavirus shuttered the season, but the Leafs secured the eighth seed with 28 regulation wins compared to the Blue Jackets’ 25.

“Two teams that were tight together in the standings, two teams that are very competitive,” Keefe said. “I thought we played a good enough game to win.

“But obviously, you can’t win when you don’t score.”

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CBC | Sports News

Stripped down Senators fall to Blue Jackets in OT of 1st game since trade deadline

The Columbus Blue Jackets ditched their eight-game losing streak — and lost two more players to injuries.

Emil Bemstrom scored 4:35 into overtime, and the banged-up Blue Jackets beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Monday night.

Bemstrom knocked home a rebound for his seventh of the season. Nick Foligno scored twice for the Blue Jackets, and Stefan Matteau tied it with his second of the season midway through the third period.

But Columbus’ first win since Feb. 7 might have been a costly one.

Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins departed in the second period following a jarring collision with former Jackets forward Anthony Duclair. Center Riley Nash also left in the second.

WATCH | Jackets ride 2 goalies to win over Senators:

Columbus beats Ottawa 4-3 with Emil Bemstrom’s overtime winner, snaps 8-game losing skid. 1:40

The Blue Jackets have been ravaged by injuries this year. Merzlikins was replaced by Joonas Korpisalo, who was just activated after sitting out with a knee injury since Dec. 29.

There was no word on the status of Merzlikins and Nash, but Columbus added goalie Matiss Kivlenieks to the roster on emergency recall from the team’s AHL affiliate in Cleveland ahead of Tuesday’s game at Minnesota.

“We have looked at this as a great opportunity,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “We lose a couple more guys tonight. It’s just a great opportunity to define team and define not giving in.”

“We don’t have the big speeches, it’s not us against the world, none of that [stuff] anymore,” he added. “We know who we are. We’ve been this for months. We have to be ready to do it each night.”

The Senators were in flux after trading away two of their top offensive players before the deadline Monday and trying to get two other guys to Columbus for the game.

Ottawa dealt centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders for a trio of draft picks, including a conditional 2020 first-rounder. The team also traded forward Vladislav Namestnikov to Colorado for a fourth-round pick.

WATCH | Rob Pizzo breaks down busy trade deadline day:

Rob Pizzo tells you everything you need to know about who went where 2:43

“Those are great friends of ours, a big part of our team, a big part of this group of guys,” said Connor Brown, who had two goals for the Senators. “When it’s all said an done you don’t want to be playing on trade deadline day. It’s a pretty emotional day.”

Colin White also scored, and Marcus Hogberg had 41 saves in Ottawa’s third straight loss.

The Blue Jackets’ slide had reached eight, but they managed to get a point in five of the losses to stay in contention. The win enabled them to jump over idle Carolina into the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card slot.

Foligno — still sporting two black eyes from taking a puck in the face Thursday — got the Blue Jackets on the board 4:10 into the first when he swept the puck in from the slot.

Brown tied it at 10:48 when he banged a shot off the near post, and he got another just 9 seconds into a power play to put the Senators up 2-1 halfway through the second.

Foligno got his ninth of the season with 7:28 left in the second, a tap-in after a nice play by Boone Jenner.

The teams traded goals again in the third period, with White tapping in a rebound and Matteau getting credit for a tip-in of Scott Harrington’s long shot 29 seconds later.

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CBC | Sports News

Bruins’ stars rising to occasion in series with Blue Jackets

The Boston Bruins now have as many wins in their 2019 Stanley Cup playoff run as there are seas, heavens and wonders of the world.

Yes, the seventh post-season victory was significant for head coach Bruce Cassidy’s side. Although momentum hasn’t meant much in this wild and wacky Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins appear to be a club that has found its groove.

The Bruins enjoyed a 4-3 victory in front of their loyal fanbase to take a 3-2 lead in their second-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday evening.

Okay, so Boston almost frittered away an impressive outing that saw them ahead two goals with less than nine minutes to go only to allow goals from forward Ryan Dzingel and defenceman Dean Kukan one minute and 51 seconds apart. Kukan’s game-tying goal with 6:02 remaining in the third period was the first NHL goal for the 25-year-old Swiss native.

The Bruins, however, weren’t about to let this one slip away. The Bruins swarmed Columbus sniper Artemi Panarin at the Boston blue line to steal the puck, leading to a nice Brad Marchand-to-David Pastrnak-goal for the game-winner with 88 ticks left on the clock.

WATCH | Bruins outlast Blue Jackets in wild 3rd period: 

Six goals were scored in the final 20 minutes of Game 5, including David Pastrnak’s game-winner, as Boston hung on to beat Columbus 4-3 on home ice. 2:02

It wasn’t that long ago Boston looked frustrated, old and tired and couldn’t match the younger Blue Jackets physicality in Game 3 last Tuesday. Super-pest forward Marchand exhibited his team’s state of annoyance when he punched Columbus defenceman Scott Harrington in the back of the head late in that outing.

But since then, the Bruins best players, as in Patrice Bergeron, Marchand, David Krejci and Pastrnak, have been their team’s best players.

Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci and Pastrnak have combined to score seven of the Bruins eight goals in their back-to-back wins in Games 4 and 5. The Bruins have a chance to advance to the East final with another win in Columbus on Monday.

It will be important for Boston to finish off the Blue Jackets in two days because the Carolina Hurricanes will be waiting. The “Bunch of Jerks” as they are now known, thanks to Don Cherry’s criticism of their victory celebrations back in the regular season, have won six in a row after they completed a sweep of the New York Islanders in the second round on Friday. 

But back to Boston. If they can squeeze by the Blue Jackets, the Bruins would advance to their third conference final in nine seasons after they won the 2010-11 Stanley Cup over the Vancouver Canucks and lost in the league final two years later to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand and captain Zdeno Chara were key members of the championship team, while Tuukka Rask was the backup goalie. Rask moved into the starter’s role in 2013 and a young defenceman named Torey Krug joined the club for the Bruins playoff run that spring.

WATCH | 9 reasons people hate Brad Marchand in 90 seconds: 

With Brad Marchand up to his old tricks, Rob Pizzo shows you why he is the easiest player to hate in the NHL. 2:08

Although the NHL has become a young man’s league, Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand still remain elite-level players in their 30s. The 42-year-old Chara, however, has shown signs of slowing down this spring. 

So this may be the last kick at the Cup for these old friends. But they just can’t get ahead of themselves as they did in the third period on Saturday.

It was strange, but the TD Garden deejay decided to play Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer, the song that’s refrain begins “whoa, we’re half-way there,” during a television timeout with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period.

The Bruins still needed to finish off the game and then win another before they are halfway to a Stanley Cup championship.

For their sake, even though back-to-back wins have them feeling good about themselves they should expect the Blue Jackets best outing yet in this series on Monday.

Otherwise, the Bruins can expect another Game 7 in their building on  Wednesday as they survived in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hmm, there’s that number again — seven.

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CBC | Sports News

Stanley Cup playoffs on Hockey Night in Canada: Blue Jackets vs. Bruins Game 2

Watch live on television and online Saturday at 8 p.m. ET as the Columbus Blue Jackets meet the Boston Bruins for Game 2 of their second round Stanley Cup playoff series on Hockey Night on Canada.

Please note that this stream is designed to operate on desktop or mobile web. If you are viewing this on the CBC Sports App, please download the app to watch this program.

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CBC | Sports News

Jackets play giant killer with historic sweep of Lightning

Sullen and speechless, the Tampa Bay Lightning had little explanation for how they followed up a glorious regular season by getting bounced from the playoffs with record-setting haste.

The Columbus Blue Jackets capped a stunning sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy winners with a 7-3 victory Tuesday night. Tampa Bay became the first team in the expansion era, which began in 1967-68, to go winless in the first round of the playoffs after leading the league in points during the regular season.

And what a season it was. Tampa Bay tied the NHL record for wins with 62 and amassed 128 points, fourth in NHL history.

“Yeah, it sucks,” said Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who had 128 points in the regular season but was kept off the scoresheet until Tuesday night.

“Nothing was our way in the series,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, didn’t clinch the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot until the 81st game. But they outplayed the Lightning with a smothering forecheck and stellar goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky.

Columbus won its first-ever playoff series on its fifth try and advances to play the winner of the Boston-Toronto series, which the Maple Leafs lead 2-1.

“It’s a great feeling to finally get one,” Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard said. “The job’s not done. We have to keep going.”

Bobrovsky shines

Bobrovsky carried the day again for the Blue Jackets, finishing with 30 saves.

With Columbus clinging to a 4-3 lead in the third period, Tampa Bay had wrested the momentum from the Blue Jackets but still couldn’t solve Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets’ final three goals came late in the period after the Lightning had pulled goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra skater.

“They were the better team,” said Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, who also didn’t score until Game 4. “They executed their game plan. I don’t know what to say. If we had the answers we would have found a way to win a game.”

Oliver Bjorkstrand celebrates his goal that gave the Columbus Blue Jackets the lead on their way to 7-3 win and a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Rookie Alexandre Texier, who was brought over after his season ended in the Finnish league, scored his first NHL goal and later added one of the empty-netters. Pierre Luc-Dubois had a goal and a pair of assists.

A dozen different players scored for Columbus in the series.

“I’m so happy for them because I think they really can see if you’re a unit you can get some things accomplished,” said Columbus coach John Tortorella, who led Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004. “As we approach the second round, wherever it may be, it’s going to have to be even tighter. I think this is a really good foundation, (and) you can do some really crazy things if you stay together as a unit.”

Stamkos, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay, which never led in this elimination game. The Lightning tied it at 3 on Point’s goal late in the second period , but Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 54 seconds later to put Columbus ahead for good.

“A bounce here, a bounce there maybe it’s a different game,” Lightning wing Ryan Callahan said. “But at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough top to bottom from our team. A very structured team over there, played to their systems, didn’t waver and outplayed us for four games.”


Presidents’ Trophy winners to lose in 1st round:

  • 1991 Chicago Blackhawks lost to Minnesota 4-2
  • 2000 St. Louis Blues lost to San Jose 4-3
  • 2006 Detroit Red Wings lost to Edmonton 4-2
  • 2009 San Jose Sharks lost to Anaheim 4-2
  • 2010 Washington Capitals lost to Montreal 4-3
  • 2012 Vancouver Canucks lost to Los Angeles 4-1
  • 2019 Tampa Bay Lighnting lost to Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0

Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli battles with Columbus defenceman Seth Jones and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 4 on Tuesday. (Jay LaPrete/Associated Press)

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CBC | Sports News

Powerhouse Lightning left reeling as Blue Jackets grab 2-0 series lead

Matt Duchene had a goal and three assists, Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves, and the Columbus Blue Jackets stunned the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Friday night to take a 2-0 first-round series lead.

Columbus also got goals from Cam Atkinson, Zach Werenski, Riley Nash and Artemi Panarin. The Blue Jackets started the post-season last season by winning the first two games of the first-round series with eventual Stanley Cup Washington, which won the next four games.

Mikhail Sergachev had a goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning, who lost two games in a row just twice in the regular season. Tampa Bay matched the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in a regular season with 62.

Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, who led the NHL with 128 points, was held off the scoresheet for the second consecutive game and picked up tripping, boarding and 10-minute misconduct penalties late in the third period.

The Blue Jackets rallied from a three-goal, first-period deficit to beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in Game 1 on Wednesday night as Seth Jones scored the go-ahead goal on the power play to cap Columbus’ three-goal third period.


Duchene assisted on both Columbus goals during the first period and put the Blue Jackets ahead 3-0 on the power play when the center scored on the rebound at 1:28 of the second after Vasilevskiy had stopped his tip-in try.

The Lightning got within two goals at 3-1 when Sergachev’s shot went into the net off Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara’s skate five minutes into the third. But, Nash and Panarin scored goals over a three-minute span midway through the period.

Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky makes a sprawling save in the Jackets’ win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Bobrovsky stopped Kucherov’s shot and got a piece of Steven Stamkos’ scoring chance that also went off the crossbar during an early second-period power play.

Duchene stole the puck from J.T. Miller along the left-wing boards and sent a pass into the low slot that Atkinson redirected past Vasilevskiy 5:15 into the game.

Werenski made it 2-0 from the blue line after Duchene won a faceoff during a power play at 11:44 of the first.

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CBC | Sports News

Canadiens miss chance to gain on Jackets, lose to Islanders

The New York Islanders have been winning this season thanks largely to stalwart defense and strong goaltending. A timely goal from their captain also proved huge for their playoff push in another close victory.

Anders Lee scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period and Thomas Greiss stopped 33 shots as the Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Thursday night.

Defenceman Adam Pelech also scored his fifth goal of the season in the second period to help the Islanders win for the fourth time in five games to remain two points behind first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division. New York has 12 games remaining, one more than the Capitals.

"It's so important to get these two points especially against a team like Montreal," said the 24-year-old Pelech, who has had a breakout campaign on the blue line with 17 points. "We had plenty of guys who stepped up tonight and Greisser played a great game."

JordieBenn had the tying goal for Montreal late in the second, and Carey Price finished with 36 saves.

WATCH | Highlights from New York's win

The Montreal Canadiens fail to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff push as they fall to the New York Islanders 2-1. 1:27

Lee converted on a 2-on-1 with Matthew Barzal for his team-leading 25th goal of the season with 2:57 remaining. Lee waited patiently for Barzal to pass him the puck at the edge of the left circle before whipping it past Price. Lee, who became the team's captain this season following the departure of John Tavares, has seven goals in the last 13 games. Barzal's assist was his team-leading 39th.

"This is the kind of hockey and tight games we're going to see the rest of the way," Lee said. "These are the tight games you have to have."

The Islanders followed up their shutout win over division-rival Columbus on Monday with another solid defensive performance against the speedy Canadiens.

Montreal's Max Domi punches Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders on Thursday. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

"We got a chance in the third and we buried it," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.

After a scoreless first period, Pelech put the Islanders ahead at 1:20 of the second. Brock Nelson and Andrew Ladd assisted.

Benn tied it with 1:50 left in the middle period when his shot from the left point eluded Greiss. Paul Byron and Nate Thompson assisted on Benn's fifth of the season.

The teams played a brisk playoff-type game with both Griess and Price making acrobatic saves at both ends. The Islanders outshout the Canadiens 15-9 in the first. The Canadiens had a 16-14 shots advantage in the second.

The vibrant play continued in the third as the teams traded chances before Lee's heroics.

The Islanders are 27-10-3 in their last 40 games and now a season-high 19 games over .500. They have already surpassed last season's win and point total when they missed the playoffs for the second straight time.

WATCH | 9 winningest goalies without a Stanley Cup ring:

Carey Price now has more wins than any Hab goalie in history, but he still hasn't won a Stanley Cup. Rob Pizzo look at 9 other goalies with even more wins and no ring. 2:14

This season under Trotz they are vying for a home-ice advantage to start the postseason. Trotz likes what he sees with just over three weeks left in the regular season.

"We're showing poise," said Trotz, who coached the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup last spring. "In the playoffs, work ethic and patience are the difference."

The Canadiens are battling Columbus for the second wild card spot in the conference. They were coming off Tuesday's 3-1 win over Detroit at home in which Price became the winningest goalie in Canadiens history with victory 315.

"We played a team that looked like they're ready for the playoffs. We had opportunities. In the end it was disappointing," Price said. "It's a learning experience. We have to move on."

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CBC | Sports News

Matt Duchene's Blue Jackets shut out Senators just hours after trade

Matt Duchene was appreciative of how short the walk was to join his new team Friday afternoon.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves as the Blue Jackets blanked the Senators 3-0 in the nation's capital Friday night, just hours after Duchene was dealt to Columbus in a trade with Ottawa.

Duchene was held pointless in his Blue Jackets debut, but found it fitting to be playing his first game with his new club at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre.

"I enjoyed myself out there. It was kind of a good way to end my time as a Sen and I probably felt more comfortable because I was in this building (rather) than had we gone somewhere else," said Duchene.

"It was a big win for us and (Craig Anderson) played really well over there and kept them in it for a long time."

WATCH | Rob Pizzo's 3 thoughts on the Duchene deal

When Duchene officially became a Blue Jacket, these three things popped into Rob Pizzo's head. 1:00

Josh Anderson, Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for the Blue Jackets (34-23-3), who halted a two-game losing skid to take over third in the Metropolitan Division.

Duchene received an ovation from the crowd when he was introduced in the starting line-up. He was then mildly booed when he touched the puck during his second shift of the game, and again applauded during a short video tribute.

Duchene says he's feeling good about joining a team with a realistic shot at the playoffs after playing for a franchise with its focus on a rebuild rather than winning.

"That's what I'm looking for and that's what gets me up every morning for sure. I've been fortunate to be on a lot of good international teams and win some big tournaments, but I've never had a chance to play in the playoffs consistently," said Duchene.

Matt Duchene takes some time prior to Friday's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators after being traded earlier in the day. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Atkinson gave the Jackets some breathing room as he scored on a short-handed breakaway at 6:45 of the third period to take a 2-0 lead. Bjorkstrand put the game out of reach at 17:14

Craig Anderson made 37 saves in the Ottawa (22-34-5) goal. It was the second-straight shutout loss for the Senators and third overall.

The Senators have now gone 125 minutes and 17 seconds without a goal. They scored seven in an 8-7 loss to Chicago last Monday, which, coincidentally, was the last game they had Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel in their lineup. The trio has scored 77 of the Senators' 186 goals this season.

Matt Duchene (95) is checked by former Ottawa teammate Dylan DeMelo in Duchene's first game with the Columbus Blue Jackets after being traded earlier Friday. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Senators coach Guy Boucher knows it's not going to get any easier going forward.

"It just shows you how hard it is to produce in the NHL. You've got your high-end core players and they produce but they also make the other guys produce. If you take out those high-end guys now the complimentary players have to become the go-to guys." Boucher said.

"You've got guys who eventually become that, but for now it's hard. There's a lot of work ahead."

Defenceman Cody Ceci, who has been rumoured to be on the move as well before Monday's trade deadline, agrees.

"Without those guys in the lineup it's tough," said Ceci, referring to the Duchene trade and Stone and Dzingel being healthy scratches as they await a possible trade of their own.

"It's a little weird the day of the game and then playing against him tonight and it's a tough time of year."

The Blue Jackets had the only goal through 40 minutes of the game but the main reason for that was the play of Craig Anderson, who kept a tight game from turning into a blowout.

The Blue Jackets had the game's first four power plays and directed seven shots at Craig Anderson, who stopped them all.

Columbus did get on the board at 14:43 of the first period when Josh Anderson put a one-timer from the face-off circle behind Craig Anderson following a pass from the corner by Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The second period was scoreless as Craig Anderson turned aside all 17 Columbus shots, including a short-handed breakaway by Boone Jenner.

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CBC | Sports News

Senators deal Matt Duchene to Blue Jackets for prospects, picks

Matt Duchene believed he was finally part of a team with a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.

"I'm kind of in a dream world right now," Duchene said after the Ottawa Senators acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche in a blockbuster trade on Nov. 5, 2017.

"I wanted to play playoff hockey," he continued. "I've got eight playoff games to my name right now and for me that's not where I want to be at this point of my career.

"I only get one shot at this."

But that dream quickly spiralled into a nightmare, and just over 15 months later the star centre is on the move again.

The Senators dealt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday for forward prospects Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson, and a first-round pick in 2019.

Ottawa will also receive a first-rounder in 2020 if Duchene, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, re-signs in Columbus. Minor-league defenceman Julius Bergman also goes to the Blue Jackets in the swap.

The trade came hours before the teams were slated to face each other at the Canadian Tire Centre, and suggests Columbus is prepared to risk losing its own pending unrestricted free agents — winger Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky — for nothing in order to make a playoff run this spring.

WATCH | Rob Pizzo's 3 thoughts on the Duchene deal

When Duchene officially became a Blue Jacket, these three things popped into Rob Pizzo's head. 1:00

"We are extremely excited to bring [Duchene] to Columbus," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. "He is a tremendous fit for our team."

The 2019 pick involved in the deal is lottery protected if it falls in the top-3, meaning Ottawa would instead get the Blue Jackets' first-rounder in 2020 under that scenario, and then receive their top selection in 2021 if Duchene re-signs.

Duchene, along with fellow pending UFAs Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel, were held out of the Senators' lineup in Thursday's 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils as the team looked to avoid potential injuries ahead of Monday's NHL trade deadline.


Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion said moving on from Duchene was crucial as the team continues to attempt a rebuild.

"We had hoped [Duchene's] addition would drive us to another deep playoff run," Dorion said in a statement. "That did not materialize. More than a year ago, we shifted our focus to a proper rebuild of the entire organization. Our desire was to have Matt be part of this and as such we approached him with a fair and comprehensive contract offer.

"As soon as it was determined that he did not want to be part of our rebuild, we shifted our focus to see what assets we could acquire in exchange for Matt that would help grow our pipeline of potential."

Worst in NHL since trade

Coming off a post-season run where they fell in double overtime of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final, the Senators acquired Duchene from Colorado in a three-team trade with Nashville that saw Kyle Turris leave Ottawa and join the Predators.

It was thought the Senators would sign Duchene to a long-term deal, but a new contract never materialized as the team tumbled down the standings.

To make matters worse for Ottawa, the trade with Colorado and Nashville included giving up a first-round pick to the Avalanche — at the Senators' choosing — in either 2018 or 2019.

The selection was not, however, lottery protected.

Ottawa decided to keep the No. 4 pick last June, grabbing winger Brady Tkachuk. But with the franchise currently sitting last in the NHL's overall standings, Dorion is now staring down the very real possibility of missing out on either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko — the presumptive top-2 picks — at the 2019 draft.

Duchene leaves Ottawa with 50 goals and 57 assists in 118 games, but those numbers did little to help the club in the win column. The Senators were just 39-69-10 with the Haliburton, Ont., native in the lineup and an NHL-worst 44-73-11 since the trade.

The third overall selection at the 2009 draft, Duchene has recorded 228 goals and 307 assists for 535 points in 704 career NHL games. The 28-year-old has six assists in those combined eight playoff games with the Avalanche.

Tumultuous Sens

Abramov, 20, was the 65th pick in the 2016 draft, while Davidsson, 21, was selected 170th overall in 2017.

"I want to thank the Senators organization for everything," Duchene said on Twitter after the trade was announced. "It was so amazing to play in our nation's capital in my home province, that's something I'll never forget."

Duchene's time in Ottawa coincided with the Senators' dramatic slide down the standings and a string of off-ice public relations disasters.

Team owner Eugene Melnyk threatened to move the club if ticket sales didn't improve just over a month after Duchene's arrival before eventually backing down — comments that spurred a group of disgruntled fans to erect four billboards sporting the .MelnykOut slogan thanks to a GoFundMe campaign.

After the team finished a disastrous 30th in the 31-team league in 2017-18, assistant GM Randy Lee was charged with harassing a 19-year-old male hotel shuttle driver at the pre-draft combine. Lee was suspended by the Senators in June, stepped down in August and pleaded guilty in December.

Two weeks after Lee was charged, news broke that the wife of Senators captain Erik Karlsson had levied cyberbullying accusations against the fiancee of winger Mike Hoffman, who was quickly dealt for pennies on the dollar to the San Jose Sharks and then flipped to the Florida Panthers, Ottawa's Atlantic Division rival.

The best player in team history with a year left on his contract before reaching UFA status, Karlsson was then traded to San Jose at the start of training camp as the tear down began in earnest.

Ottawa actually had a decent start to this season on the ice, but a video from an Uber vehicle surfaced in November featuring seven Senators players, including Duchene, discussing ineffective tactics and mocking assistant coach Martin Raymond.

And the future of the team's proposed move from suburban Kanata to a proposed downtown arena is very much in doubt with Melnyk and his potential business partners suing and counter-suing each other (the parties are currently in mediation) over the plan to redevelop Lebreton Flats — prime real estate just west of Parliament Hill.

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McDavid's 4-point night fuels Oilers' drubbing of Blue Jackets

When Edmonton scored the third goal on Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus’ exasperated net-minder fell on his back and stared up at the lights while the Oilers celebrated.

Game Wrap: Connor McDavid’s huge night fuels Oilers in rout over Blue Jackets2:17

It was that kind of night for Bobrovsky and for the Blue Jackets, who rarely take a loss like the 7-2 beating dispensed by Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists, and Laurent Brossoit stopped 28 shots. Mark Letestu, Matt Benning and Jesse Puljujarvi each added a goal and an assist, and the Oilers chased Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, from the game at the end of the second period.

“We just played a solid game, consistent up and down the lineup,” said McDavid, whose four points pushed his team-leading season total to 39. “We were able to roll four lines for the most part, and the special teams got us going a little bit.”

Brassoit started his seventh game since the injury to No. 1 goalie Cam Talbot last month. Zack Kassian, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic also scored for Edmonton (13-16-2). A dozen different Edmonton players recorded at least a point.

Tortorella loss for words

Columbus (19-11-1) is battling for Metropolitan Division supremacy but couldn’t get on track against the Oilers and didn’t make Brossoit work exceptionally hard. They played so poorly that coach John Tortorella didn’t know what to say. His postgame comments lasted all of 15 seconds.

“There’s no sense in me even trying to answer questions about this evening,” he said. “Sorry about that.”

Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots for the Blue Jackets, who lost for the first time in three games and only the fourth time in the last 14.

Backup Joonas Korpisalo played the final period and made 10 saves.

Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jack Johnson scored for Columbus.

Oilers ride strong 2nd period

The Blue Jackets struggled to get the puck out of their zone in the early going, and the first period ended with the Oilers up 1-0. Kassian scored his third goal of the season 5:55 into the game when he got a feed from Letestu across the front of the net and an open look from the doorstep.

The Oilers turned it up in the second period, scoring four times.

Nugent-Hopkins got a wide-open look 6:27 in, and he banged it in from the right circle on a power play. Later, Benning snapped in a shot between Bobrovsky’s pads from the high slot, leading to the goalie’s uncharacteristic show of frustration.

The Oilers scored twice in the last minute of the period. Lucic made it 4-0 when he chipped in another power play goal with 51 seconds left, and Letestu got a short-handed goal on a breakaway with 1 second remaining.

‘Lack of focus’

The frustration boiled over in the third period when Columbus captain Nick Foligno engaged and then proceeded to pummel Edmonton’s Jujhar Khaira. Both were penalized for fighting.

Bjorkstrand scored 32 seconds later, ending a scoreless streak of four periods for the Blue Jackets. Johnson’s tally followed, but the Blue Jackets were unable to climb back in the game when Puljujarvi and McDavid added third-period goals.

“There was just a lack of focus tonight that we normally have,” Foligno said. “It’s disappointing. We haven’t been beat like that all year.”

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