COLUMBUS, Ohio — No hot streak is likely to get Columbus back in the playoff race. Still, the Blue Jackets are rolling.
“The most important part for us in this stretch is I think we’ve played through some momentums that have gone against us, and then we’ve grabbed it back,” Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “It’s really encouraging.”
“I think the most important thing is we’re playing consistent,” Jones said. “I think we’ve showed signs of playing like this, but we haven’t done it consistently. Right now, we are.”
Jenner’s second goal came with 43 seconds remaining into an empty net after Cody Ceci scored with just over 4 minutes remaining to cut Columbus’ lead to one.
Saad beat Craig Anderson with 5:35 left for his 21st goal of the year, corralling a pass from Scott Hartnell on the break after Alexander Wennberg sacrificed his body on the other end to block a shot.
“That’s just a great block,” Tortorella said. “I think we’re just scratching the surface as far as what we have to do in those situations, the more times it happens, we’ll show them and it becomes part of their mind as far as how we’re supposed to play.”
Columbus is 23-21-6 under Tortorella, who took over for Todd Richards on Oct. 22 after the Blue Jackets started 0-7-0.
Columbus’ current stretch of victories isn’t enough to pull them out of last place in the Metropolitan Division, but it made enough plays in key moments to beat Ottawa. The Senators have lost three straight to hurt what were already slim playoff chances.
“We need a little bit more,” said Anderson, who stopped 36 of 39 shots. “We need to beat a team that was below us in the standings. That’s what we needed. It’s frustrating for sure, knowing we have the ability to win games and we’re just not doing it.”
Bobby Ryan scored on a 5-on-3 at 2:19 of the third to make it 2-1 after Atkinson ripped a shot just inside the top right of the goal off a pass from Brandon Dubinsky at 14:47 of the third to give Columbus a two-goal advantage.
“We’re giving ourselves a chance to be in the game, but that’s about it right now,” Ryan said.
Jenner opened the scoring on a tip-in past Anderson with 1:31 left in the first. Jones gathered a pass from Atkinson on the right wing and fired the puck toward the goal. Anderson stopped it initially, only to have Jenner push it into the net after it trickled through his legs.
“When you lose these types of games, you need one more of something,” Ottawa coach Dave Cameron said. “You need one more power-play goal, you need one more penalty kill, you need one more goal in terms of getting to the net. You need one more of something to get over the hump.”
Jones has 10 assists in 16 games with Columbus after only getting 10 assists in 40 games with Nashville prior to a trade on Jan. 6. The 20 assists are a career high for the 21-year-old defenceman — he had 19 in each of his first two seasons.
The Jackets are playing better and feeling completely different than how they did nearly four months ago, even though it won’t be enough to make the post-season.
“We’re getting that feeling, excitement back in our game,” Saad said. “Anytime you string some wins together and the streak we have with forcing games to overtime and bouncing back like we do, it’s exciting for the team. We’re feeling good about ourselves.”
NOTES: Ottawa wins the season series 2-1. … Korpisalo is 8-1-2 in his last 11 starts. … Columbus defenceman David Savard returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with an oblique injury. … Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki left in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return.