COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus coach John Tortorella didn’t want to talk much hockey after the Blue Jackets’ wild New Year’s Eve win over the Ottawa Senators.
Tortorella’s mind was on Nick Foligno’s 5-year-old daughter, Milana, who was born with a congenital heart defect and earlier Monday had a scheduled surgery in Boston.
Foligno, the Blue Jackets captain, was with his little girl but chatted with Tortorella by phone after the team scored five goals in the final period to secure its sixth win in the last seven games.
"He wanted to talk hockey and there was no hockey talk with me," Tortorella said. "If that doesn’t put things into perspective — we’re worried about a damn power play, scoring a goal, and the Folignos are going through that. This young girl has gone through a lot already in her life. Let’s be careful here with what’s important."
Good advice from Tortorella, who had plenty of players step up in the captain’s absence.
Zach Werenski broke a tie late in the game with the second of his two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky had 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, who are back within two points of Washington in the Metropolitan Division.
Werenski tipped in a pass from Cam Atkinson with 2:01 left to snap a 3-3 tie after Ottawa had charged back with a pair of unanswered goals.
"No one took me going to the net, and Cam made a great pass right on my tape, and it found its way in," Werenski said. "So it’s easy when you play with guys like that."
Atkinson and Josh Anderson got empty-net goals in the final minute to turn it into a rout for surging Columbus.
Pierre-Luc Dubois had a career-high two goals and two assists. Atkinson a goal and a pair of assists, and Artemi Panarin added two assists.
Ryan Dzingel had two goals for Ottawa, a team going in the opposite direction. The Senators lost their fifth in a row and are mired in last place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
Rookie Marcus Hogberg — who made his first career start Saturday against Washington — didn’t play badly, finishing with 32 saves.
After a scoreless first period, Ottawa got on the board at 8:15 of the second. Chris Tierney found Dzingel just to the right of the net , and the Ohio State product caught Bobrovsky leaning away for an easy goal, his 14th of the season.
Werenski tied the game 80 seconds later with a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle off a cross-ice pass from Panarin.
Dubois got his 15th goal of the season when he put back a rebound off the right post four minutes into the third period to break a 1-1 tie, and then he got credit for a lucky one off Cody Ceci’s skate later in the period.
The Senators got a fortunate goal of their own that bounced in off Columbus defender David Savard, with Bobby Ryan getting credit. Dzingel scored again three minutes later to tie it again, setting up Werenski’s game-winner.
"We were down 3-1 and come back, had some really good life and enthusiasm there and got nothing out of it," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. "So it’s a tough one to swallow because I thought we deserved at least one point on this one."
NOTES: Columbus’ five goals in the final 20 minutes matched a franchise record for most in a period. … F Anthony Duclair moved to Foligno’s spot on the second line and Lukas Sedlak was back in the lineup after being scratched the past five games. … Columbus is the only NHL team with four defencemen with at least 13 points. … Werenski has six points in the last five games.
Ottawa: Hosts Vancouver on Wednesday.
Columbus: At Carolina on Friday.