Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Ottawa Senators Pick & Prediction MARCH 14th 2024

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try for a repeat performance with a better result when they host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

The Blue Jackets were shut out 3-0 in their most recent game on Tuesday night at Montreal, but they unleashed 41 shots on goal — their most in a shutout loss since Nov. 2, 2019, when David Rittich made 43 saves for the Calgary Flames in a 3-0 win against the Blue Jackets.

Columbus took another 47 shots on Tuesday that were either blocked or off target.

“Three breakaways, a few posts,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “If we play that way, we’re going to win some games.”

Vincent repeatedly praised the effort his players displayed against the Canadiens, despite losing two more players to injury.

Yegor Chinakhov sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return, and fellow forward Sean Kuraly was unavailable in the third period because of an undisclosed injury.

Columbus was already without forwards Kirill Marchenko because of an illness and Adam Fantilli and Patrik Laine because of injuries. The Blue Jackets also traded forward Jack Roslovic to the New York Rangers last week in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft.

Lines were jumbled against Montreal and ice times were inflated, but Vincent continued to be pleased with what he saw.

“We can control only what we can control,” Vincent said. “Injuries, guys being traded, we had enough players to play that game and they worked hard.”

The Senators will also try to build off their most recent game, a 2-1 overtime victory against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night that ended a seven-game losing streak.

“It’s been frustrating, for sure, but we’re resilient,” said Ottawa defenseman Jake Sanderson, who scored in the third period against Pittsburgh. “We’re trying to stick with it here, so to our fans we’re going to battle until the end no matter what.”

The win on Tuesday also marked the NHL debut of Ottawa forward Zack Ostapchuk, who forced a turnover by Penguins star Sidney Crosby in overtime, which led to the game-winning goal 10 seconds later.

“I was a little surprised when they gave me a tap and said, ‘You’re going,'” Ostapchuk said of his OT opportunity. “Then I saw Crosby out there and heart (was) beating a little bit. I’m very thankful that they trusted me to go out there.”

Senators coach Jacques Martin was impressed with Ostapchuk’s debut, particularly the strength he displayed.

“He uses his body to protect the puck, wins battles,” Martin said. “Good example in overtime, he won the battle along the wall, got the puck out. I think he has a good hockey IQ, so it’s one game, but I like what I saw.”

Ostapchuk was called up from Belleville of the American Hockey League to replace center Josh Norris, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.

Finishing the season on a positive note is also important to the Senators.

“It’s going to show character and who you are right down to the core for these last 20 games,” Senators forward Brady Tkachuk said. “We have to show the effort and represent this amazing city that I love playing for.”

–Field Level Media

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