The Ottawa Senators are aiming for their longest winning streak in 32 months when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
With victories in their last three games, Ottawa will look to win four in a row for the first time since a six-game win streak in March 2017. Their current streak marks just the fifth time in two-plus seasons the Senators have won three straight contests.
After a rough October, the Senators have quietly been one of the league’s best teams this month, with a 7-2-0 record over their last nine games.
While defenseman Thomas Chabot feels this good form is “nothing to get crazy about” this early in a season, he added that “things are working out right now” for the young team.
“For now, I think we’re playing really well. Our system is working, our goalies are doing a hell of a job for us, and they’re finding all ways to make that big save to keep us in the game,” Chabot said.
Anders Nilsson has a 6-1-0 record and .935 save percentage over his last seven games, which includes Ottawa’s 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Friday.
Since the Senators have been rotating goalies over their last six games, however, Craig Anderson is due to start against Columbus, if the pattern continues. Anderson is coming off a 35-save performance in the Senators’ 2-1 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens last Wednesday.
Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo is likely to be back in net on Monday after backup Elvis Merzlikins started the Blue Jackets’ 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
The defeat snapped the Jackets’ three-game winning streak.
Despite the loss, Saturday’s game continued the Blue Jackets’ recent stretch of special teams dominance. Columbus blanked Winnipeg on three power-play chances, and opponents have just two goals in their last 23 opportunities against the Jackets’ penalty-killing unit.
All three Blue Jackets goals on Saturday came on the power play, and the team is now 5-for-10 with the extra attacker since Paul MacLean was hired as assistant coach/special teams earlier this week.
“[MacLean] wants us at specific spots at specific times, and I think that’s what’s really helping us out,” Pierre-Luc Dubois said. “We can make the play that we see … but we know where guys are. We know that if you have the puck somewhere, another guy is going to be at a specific spot. I think that’s what’s doing a good job for us.”
The Jackets’ power play was starting to heat up even before MacLean’s hiring, as the team is 9-for-26 (34.61 percent) with the man advantage over its last seven games. By comparison, the Tampa Bay Lightning led the NHL last season by converting 28.24 percent of their power plays.
On the opposing side, the Senators’ penalty killers have also been in good form. Opponents have just one goal in their last 21 power plays against Ottawa.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had two assists against the Rangers, giving him 13 points (10 goals, three assists) over his last 12 games.
Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski is on a six-game points streak, with eight total points (three goals, five assists) over that stretch.
This is the first of three meetings between Ottawa and Columbus this season. The Blue Jackets are 4-0-0 in their last four games with the Senators.
–Field Level Media