Dubois scores 2 goals, Blue Jackets beat Senators 6-2
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Ottawa Senators punctuated an awful season with a poor performance.
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Senators 6-2 in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday.
Alexandre Texier, Riley Nash, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Markus Nutivaara also scored for the Blue Jackets. Joonas Korpisalo made 27 saves.
Thomas Chabot and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Senators (29-47-6). Anders Nilsson stopped 17 shots after replacing starter Craig Anderson, who was pulled midway through the first after giving up three goals on seven shots.
The Senators finished last in the NHL standings for the first time in 23 years.
“It’s been a tough year win and losses wise, but as a group we tried to stand up and make an identity for ourselves,” Chabot said.
“I think we did a pretty good job of that. I think when (interim head coach Marc) Crawford took over, everybody kind of took a step and we always stuck together as a group whether we were winning or losing and I think that’s a big step.”
Whether Crawford is back remains to be seen, with the coaching decision one of the biggest to come this off-season for Ottawa after its second straight playoff miss.
The Senators traded their first-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche in this year’s draft, which could end up being No. 1 in the lottery on Tuesday night.
“It’s a disappointing feeling right now,” said forward Zack Smith. “At the same time, we’ve done a lot of good things, especially in the last month. We’ve come a long way. Now it’s just get some rest and start getting excited about next year because we have a long time to think about it.”
The Blue Jackets, who clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 shootout win over the New York Rangers on Friday, finished 47-31-4 and secured the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. They’ll face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs.
“I wasn’t sure how we were going to be,” head coach John Tortorella said. “You have an emotional letdown after what happened and the crazy game (Friday) night.
“I don’t think we played badly. I don’t think we played great. The game played out the way I thought it would be.”
While the Blue Jackets came into the game with an opportunity to move up in the standings, there was still some concern how players would react after clinching. Carolina’s win over Philadelphia, however, locked Columbus into the second wild-card spot.
“I think if anything it let us play looser and just enjoy this moment, too,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. “We worked hard to get to this point so I think for our group it’s just about feeling good about ourselves going into the playoffs.”
The Senators cut the Blue Jackets’ lead to 4-2 as Boedker, standing at the top of the crease, took a pass from Chris Tierney and sent a wrist shot past Korpisalo.
But a bad turnover by Boedker led to Bjorkstrand’s second goal, and Nash scored into an empty net.
Trailing 3-0, the Senators finally got on the board midway through the second as Chabot beat Korpisalo with a backhand shot.
The Blue Jackets regained their three-goal lead when Texier scored his first career goal in just his second game.
Columbus opened the scoring three minutes into the game. Dubois took a pass from Artemi Panarin and beat Anderson with a high shot.
Midway through the first, Bjorkstrand slipped a puck through Mark Borowiecki’s legs and dished it off to Nutivaara for his fifth of the season. Just over a minute later, some bad defensive coverage allowed Dubois to dig the puck out of the crease and beat Anderson for his second goal of the game.
NOTES: Ottawa’s Ben Harpur missed his third straight game. ... The Blue Jackets opted to make goalie Sergei Bobrovsky a healthy scratch, giving him the night off.
Blue Jackets: Face the Tampa Bay Lightning in first round of the playoffs.