The Ottawa Senators will look to extend their win streak to a season-high four games when they entertain the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
Ottawa, last in the Atlantic Division, returned from the All-Star break Saturday and matched its season-best three-game win streak with a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I thought we were slow off the mark,” said Senators interim coach Jacques Martin. “But I think that’s kind of expected after being off for 10 days and not having played.
“I think Toronto took advantage of that, but I liked how we finished the first period. I thought we gained some momentum. I thought we engaged a lot more. We started to be more physical. We started to control the puck in the offensive zone, and I think that helped our play.”
Center Shane Pinto, who had a goal and two assists in Saturday’s win, has five points over his last five games. Captain Brady Tkachuk has four goals in his past four, while forward Drake Batherson has three helpers in that span.
Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo is 13-6-2 this season with a 3.37 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage in 34 games.
The Senators enter Tuesday with a 6-2-2 record over their last 10 and are 14-12-2 on home ice this season.
Columbus will look to get back in the win column after dropping a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning on home ice Saturday.
“We started strong, we finished strong,” said Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent. “We had a chance to come back in this game. If you were at the game tonight, that’s the style of hockey we’re going to play. That’s what we wanted to create and that’s what we’re creating.”
Captain Boone Jenner scored twice to pull the Blue Jackets to within one, but Columbus was unable to score the equalizer.
“I liked the way we just stuck with it, and we knew we’d get rewarded if we didn’t change anything,” said Jenner. “They started to go in in the third, but obviously we came up short and they were able to get the last one.”
The Blue Jackets, last in the Metropolitan Division, are 3-6-1 over their last 10 and 7-11-6 on the road this season.
Columbus will be without forward Yegor Chinakhov on Tuesday. Chinakhov, who has 14 goals and 24 points in 40 games this season, came away with an upper-body injury in Saturday’s loss.
Johnny Gaudreau leads the Blue Jackets with 34 points in 51 games this season. The left winger had a pair of assists in the loss to the Lightning and has five points in his last five games.
Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is 9-11-7 with a 3.21 GAA and a .904 save percentage in 29 games.
The Blue Jackets doubled up the visiting Senators 4-2 on Dec. 1 in the only other meeting of the season. The clubs wrap up the season series in Columbus on March 14.