OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Ottawa Senators got a tough contest from one of the league's best teams and had enough to come out the winners.
Zack Smith scored his league-leading fourth short-handed goal in the third period and the Senators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Saturday night.
"I think it was a hard-fought game," Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson said. "I think they played a really good game and they made it really tough for us, but we stuck with it for the 60 minutes and we battled hard."
Senators coach Guy Boucher rolled all four lines with every forward playing more than ten minutes.
"Last ten, 15 minutes of the game, our players have so much juice now," Boucher said. "It's good to see. Guys are playing different roles and can focus on the roles that they're asked to play. It's really good to manage."
Viktor Stalberg got his first goal since joining the Senators ahead of Wednesday's trade deadline. Erik Karlsson scored his 11th of the season and Craig Anderson made 25 saves.
Stalberg was traded to Ottawa by the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2017 third-round draft pick on Tuesday.
Brandon Saad and Sam Gagner scored for the Blue Jackets. Joonas Korpisalo played just his eighth game this season and made 24 saves. This was the first regulation loss for Columbus in five games (3-1-1).
"We created some opportunities," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "Three posts, had some looks, had some missed chances, (Anderson) made some good saves. The game could have gone either way, but we ended up on the wrong end of it. They score three, we have two."
Trailing 2-1 late in the third, Columbus had a power play and pulled Korpisalo to try and score the equalizer, but the Senators were able to take advantage when Smith scored into the empty net to make it 3-1.
Gagner scored a power-play goal with just over two minutes remaining in regulation to cut Ottawa's lead to 3-2.
A hard fought second period saw the Senators come out with a 2-1 lead as Mark Stone made an outstanding no-look pass to Karlsson, who snapped a shot past Korpisalo.
Anderson had a little luck on his side as both Zach Werenski and Oliver Bjorstrand rang shots off the post.
Ottawa tied it at 1 midway through the first when Stalberg jumped on a loose puck in the crease.
Columbus opened the scoring just two minutes into the game when Werenski made a great pass to Saad, who wired a shot off the post to beat Anderson.
NOTES: This was the third and final meeting of the regular season between the two teams with the Senators winning the series 2-0-1. ... Ottawa D Jyrki Jokipakka, D Fredrik Claesson and C Christopher DiDomenico were healthy scratches. ... Columbus D Scott Harrington, D Markus Nutivaara and C TJ Tynan were healthy scratches.
Blue Jackets: Play at New Jersey on Sunday.
Senators: Host Boston on Monday night.
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