The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to end a three-game losing streak when they host the Ottawa Senators on Friday.
The Blue Jackets (35-36-6, 76 points) are back home after a three-game swing through California that ended with the club empty-handed after winning three of their previous four games.
Columbus fell behind by multiple goals in the first period of each game of the trip.
“We can’t try to come back every night, it’s just too difficult to do in this league,” forward Jack Roslovic said. “It’s just about being mentally focused right from the first puck drop.”
Roslovic continues to roll, scoring both goals for the Blue Jackets in their 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the road trip finale. It was his third multi-goal outing in his past five games, and he has 10 goals in his past 21 games after scoring just nine times in the previous 55.
“When it’s going, it’s going,” Roslovic said. “It’s a lot of other things, though, that build up to that. It’s the defensive part of the game, playing the game the right way. You learn those bounces will start to come when you start to play a full 200-foot game.”
A turnover against the Calgary Flames in February prompted a sit-down with coach Brad Larsen about his game. The Blue Jackets’ bench boss has been pleased with the 25-year-old’s defensive play since and isn’t surprised to see the Columbus native succeed offensively.
“It’s been consistent for a while,” Larsen said. “When you get consistency in the defending part, plus the production, that’s a great combo.”
Forward Yegor Chinakhov, who has missed eight games with an upper-body injury, practiced Thursday. Forward Patrik Laine (upper body, two games missed) and defenseman Zach Werenski (upper body, one game missed) did not practice.
The Senators (29-41-7, 65 points) arrive in Columbus looking to wrap up a three-game road trip with a second straight win and a fourth victory in their past six games.
Ottawa is coming off a 4-3 shootout triumph against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. Forward Adam Gaudette secured the win with the decisive goal in the tiebreaker.
It’s been a rough stretch offensively for Gaudette, who last picked up a point (an assist) on March 5. The 25-year-old has gone 28 games without a goal.
“It felt good for sure, to be able to contribute in some way,” Gaudette said. “It was a good ending to a good game. I can put the puck in the net. That’s been something I’ve always been able to do throughout my career. It’s something I haven’t been able to do lately, but one-on-one, I like my chances there.”
The Senators could be without forward Tim Stutzle, who missed practice Thursday after briefly leaving the game against Vancouver. Coach D.J. Smith said Stutzle would be reevaluated Friday morning and if he’s unable to go, the team will call up a player.
“He’s pushing hard to play,” Smith said.
–Field Level Media