Senators leapfrog Bruins

Ottawa Senators' Matt Carkner reaches out as goalie Brian Elliott blocks a shot from Columbus Blue...

Ottawa Senators' Matt Carkner reaches out as goalie Brian Elliott blocks a shot from Columbus Blue Jackets' captain Rick Nash. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

The Senators haven't seen much in the way of power plays lately, but they showed Thursday night they haven't forgotten what to do when they get them.

Twenty-four hours after not getting a power-play chance, both Senators’ goals in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets came with the man advantage, one on a delayed penalty and the other on the power play.

The Senators bounced back from their loss to the New Jersey Devils with a fifth win in their last six games in front of a crowd of 19,244 at Scotiabank Place, Ottawa’s third sellout of the season.

The win allowed the Senators to reclaim first place in the Northeast Division, jumping a point over the Boston Bruins and setting up a showdown for top spot Saturday night in Beantown as the Senators kick off a five-game road trip.

Nick Foligno got the winner at 13:50 of the third when he walked out from behind the Columbus net and somehow stuffed a backhanded wraparound through Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason.

“I saw all their guys go to (Jesse Winchester) and (Alex Kovalev) and I felt I had a clean lane,” said Foligno, who scored his fifth of the season. “I tried to stuff it between his pads and I was pretty happy about it.”

Ex-Senator Antoine Vermette, making his return, had a brilliant chance to tie it with 28 seconds left in the third, but couldn’t get his stick on a centring pass in the crease.

Winchester drew assists on both Foligno’s goal and one by Jason Spezza — just his second of the season, which tied the game 1-1 late in the first period.

About Winchester’s effort, Foligno said: “He’s awesome. “He’s playing fantastic and showing what he’s all about. He’s got more confidence and that’s a big thing, especially for a young guy in this league.”

Senators coach Cory Clouston said the win will set a tone for the road trip.

“It gives us a lot of confidence going into the road trip. Guys are stepping up into bigger roles and are doing a real good job,” he said.

The Senators were without centre Mike Fisher, wingers Chris Neil and Shean Donovan and defenceman Anton Volchenkov, all injured.

The Blue Jackets went into the game with the second-ranked power play in the NHL after wallowing at the bottom of the rankings last year. They needed only 10 seconds after Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was sent off for high sticking, opening the scoring in the first period.

Kristian Huselius scored his 10th of the season into the open side of the net at 17:41 after a nice pass slipped across the goalmouth by R.J. Umberger. Goalie Brian Elliott didn’t have much of a chance.

The Senators tied it less than a minute later on Spezza’s goal, ending a 10-game goalless streak for him.

Elliott made several sharp saves including one on Mike Blunden, an Ottawa kid.


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