Three Things: Tough Test For Elvis, Roslovic And Laine Break Shutout, Hutchinson's Debut

By Will Chase on March 4, 2023 at 10:20 pm
Ottawa Senators' Travis Hamonic celebrates with Mathieu Joseph his goal scored in the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

A tough night in the Canadian capital.

The Ottawa Senators stayed hot, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2, on Saturday from Canadian Tire Centre for a season-best fifth-straight win.

Travis Hamonic and Tim Stutzle each had two goals. The new Senator, Jakob Chychrun, had two points with a goal and an assist in his home debut. Stutzle is on a four-game point streak (five goals, two assists) with goals in four straight.

Jake Sanderson and Mathieu Joseph had two assists. Brady Tkachuk, Alex DeBrincat, Erik Brannstrom, and Julien Gauthier all had assists. Tkachuk is on a five-game point streak (two goals, four assists). DeBrincat is on a five-game point streak (one goal, five assists).

Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine scored for the Blue Jackets. Kirill Marchenko picked up his second career assist.

Cam Talbot picked up his third straight win, making 19 saves. Elvis Merzlikins made 19 saves on 23 shots before being pulled in the second period. Michael Hutchinson made 15 saves in relief. 

Sanderson is the son of former Blue Jacket Geoff Sanderson. Former Blue Jacket Derick Brassard was honored pregame for his 1,000th career game on Thursday night against the New York Rangers.

Tough Test For Elvis

Merzlikins made consecutive starts for the first time all season following Friday's 4-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken. He'll get many more opportunities throughout the rest of the season like that.

First up on Saturday, it was a test against a high-scoring Senators team looking to end a five-year playoff drought. The Senators came into Saturday's contest winners of four straight, having outscored its opponents 22-8 and scoring at least 5 goals in each of those wins. They came in 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

While Columbus only features one 50-point player in Johnny Gaudreau, the Senators came into the game featuring five such players including Drake Batherson (51), Alex DeBrincat (53), Claude Giroux (63), Tim Stutzle (64), and Brady Tkachuk (65).

The Senators struck twice in the first period with goals by Hamonic at 5:17 and Stutzle at 11:18. Hamonic scored his second goal of the game in the second period at 2:16 and Chychrun's first as a Senator ended Merzlikins' night, giving way to the new Blue Jacket, Hutchinson, to make his debut in net.

Coming into the game, Merzlikins had allowed exactly three goals in his last six starts before allowing four goals on Saturday.

Roslovic And Laine Break Shutout

Roslovic's first-period tying goal came 18 seconds after Hamonic's. It's just Roslovic's seventh goal this season, and third in a week, when he had a four-point game against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 25 with two goals and two assists. Saturday's goal against Ottawa broke a three-game scoreless drought. 

Michael Hutchinson's Debut

After Merzlikins' night ended early, the new backup, Hutchinson made his Blue Jackets debut following Thursday's trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. Entering play, he had 137 career games under his belt with a 55-55-15 record, a 2.79 GAA, and a .905 SV%. Prior to Columbus, he also played with the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Colorado Avalanche.

Hutchinson was beaten by Stutzle's second goal of the game, a short-handed tally, in the third period at 12:07. He made 15 saves on 16 shots.

The Igloo

The Blue Jackets are in Pittsburgh to battle the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday, Mar. 7 at 7:00 pm ET. The Blue Jackets are 0-2-0 against the Penguins this season, dropping the Oct. 22 matchup at Nationwide Arena, 6-3, and falling in Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, 4-1.