OTTAWA, Ontario — Nick Foligno took extra pleasure in getting the winning goal against his former team.
Foligno scored one of Columbus’ four goals in the third period and Curtis McElhinney — another former Ottawa player — stopped 34 shots to lead the Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the Senators on Saturday night.
“It’s meaningful for sure,” Foligno said of goal that gave Columbus a 2-0 lead at 8:51 of the final period. “It’s a team you used to play for and you get up for those games and you want to do well against them. “I’m just proud of the way we played.”
Foligno was drafted in the first round by the Senators back in 2006 and played four seasons in Ottawa before being traded to Columbus prior to the 2012-13 season.
Cam Atkinson, Scott Hartnell and Mark Letestu also scored to help the Blue Jackets win for the second time in two nights. McElhinney had 12 saves in the third period.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game and a very big win on the road for us,” said McElhinney, who played seven games for the Senators during the 2010-11 season.
“We talked about it before the third period that it was going to be an ugly goal to get the lead and their goalie was making some great saves so it was just a matter of who was going to break first.”
Erik Condra had the only goal for the Senators, also in the third period. Robin Lehner stopped 29 shots in his career-high fifth straight start as Ottawa lost its third straight.
After two scoreless periods, Atkinson put Columbus ahead at 4:13 of the third as he converted his own rebound. Atkinson grabbed the loose puck at the side of the net on his forehand, pulled it to his backhand and beat Lehner
Foligno made it 2-0 as he broke down the left side, fought off two Senators and slipped a backhand through the legs of Lehner at 8:51.
Condra got Ottawa on the scoreboard less than 2 minutes later.
Hartnell had an empty-netter with 1:16 remaining to restore Columbus’ two-goal lead. Letestu beat Lehner with 13 seconds left to seal the win.
The Blue Jackets were coming off a 7-1 win at home against St. Louis Blues on Friday night, but lost defenseman James Wisniewski and Ryan Murray to injuries in that game.
Their absences were evident at times throughout the game as Columbus struggled in its own zone, especially in the second period when the Senators had extended pressure on different occasions.
“You play and practice a system for a reason and that’s to give your team the best chance to win games,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said. “You look at tonight’s game and we generated enough chances but we didn’t finish them. You have to continue to do the things that gave you those chances and eventually you hope that they’re going to go in.”
Lehner, who was making his fifth straight start, made some key saves but the best chances came at the other end of the ice where McElhinney made a huge pad save off Clarke MacArthur and then got help from his left goal post on a shot from Mark Stone.
NOTES: Chris Phillips, Milan Michalek and Patrick Wiercioch were scratches for the Senators while Jordan Leopold, James Wisniewski and Ryan Murray were scratches for the Blue Jackets. … Senators D Cody Ceci played his 100th NHL game. … Foligno has already set career highs in goals (21) and points (49) this season.