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Good riddance: Senators lose third in a row to Jets

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Nathan Beaulieu (88) fights Ottawa Senators forward Michael Haley (38) during the first period at Bell MTS Place on Saturday night.
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Nathan Beaulieu (88) fights Ottawa Senators forward Michael Haley (38) during the first period at Bell MTS Place on Saturday night.

The Ottawa Senators will happy to see the last of the Winnipeg Jets for awhile.

This wasn’t the way the Senators would have scripted the start to a long road trip after they dropped their third straight to the Jets this week, this one a 6-3 decision Saturday night at Bell MTS Place.

Nick Paul had a two-point effort with a goal and an assist while Evgenii Dadonov and Brady Tkachuk also beat Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck on the 21 shots he faced. Andrew Copp scored twice while Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers responded for the Jets, who turned it up in the third period.

The Jets scored four unanswered goals in the third period to secure the victory after Marcus Hogberg allowed five goals on 37 shots.

A badly-timed delay-of-game penalty to Stepan for firing the puck over the glass resulted in the winning goal by Statsny at 15:45 of the third on the ensuing power play. To make matters worse, Copp’s second of the game gave the Jets a two-goal lead at 16:55.

“I thought we did some really good things in the first 40 minutes and then at the start of the third we kind of sat back on our heels,” said Stepan. “I’m a veteran guy, brought in here to be a leader. You can’t take a penalty like that, especially when their power play is as good as it’s.

“That lands on me. I feel like I let the group down, especially how well the guys battled tonight. I’d like to see us be on our toes a little bit more in the third. This one stings for me right now.”

While it appeared Chris Tierney had brought the club to within a goal at 17:18, it was called back because it was ruled Connor Brown was offside after a review. Not long after, Mark Scheifele put it away into an empty net.

“We did a lot of things better than we did (Thursday) night but, at the end of the day, the result isn’t what we want. The third period was very unfortunate for us,” said coach D.J. Smith. “You can’t stop playing. The message was to stay on the gas and go get these guys. A blatant turnover in the middle of the ice ends up in the back of your net, that’s not going to get them.”

Starting a seven-game, 14-day road by facing the Jets for the third straight time this week, the Senators were trying to end a three-game losing skid. Ottawa dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Winnipeg on Tuesday at home and then the club wasn’t close in a 4-1 loss Thursday.

Saturday morning, the Jets pulled off a blockbuster deal by sending high-scoring Patrik Laine and restricted free agent Jack Roslovic to the Columbus Blue Jackets for centre Pierre-Luc Dubois. Laine hadn’t played in this series because he’s sidelined with a pulled muscle that will keep him out another week.

Dubois has to quarantine before suiting up for Winnipeg, so even though he arrived earlier in the day on a private jet from Columbus, he wasn’t able to play.

The decision to give Hogberg the start was a bit of a surprise. He played the third period of Thursday’s loss after Matt Murray was pulled after allowing four goals on 26 shots. It was Hogberg’s first NHL start since he gave up five goals on 15 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on March 10 on the road.

“It felt pretty good,” said Hogberg. “The first 40 minutes was pretty good then they scored some goals on the power play. It’s tough to start with a loss here.”

Trying to hold the lead heading into the third, it didn’t take long for the Jets to tie it up 3-3. Statsny did some good work beating Artem Anismov to set up Copp. He was in all alone and had two chances to beat Hogberg at 2:24.

Smith called Paul the club’s most reliable player through the first four games and he continued to push the ceiling even higher on his contributions. He fired home his second of the season by going top shelf on Hellebuyck on the glove side to give the Senators a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

“We were good on the forecheck (the first two periods),” said Paul. “We were good at breaking out the puck and in the third period we didn’t do that.”

Ottawa trailed twice and tied it up both times.

The Senators and Jets combined for three goals in a span of 7:10 in the second. Tkachuk’s second of the season at 11:14 tied it up 2-2. He spun and fired a shot from the circle through Hellebuyck’s five-hole.

Signed as a UFA in the off-season, Dadonov scored his first in an Ottawa uniform and it was a beauty. He went hard to the net and was able to push the puck through Hellebuyck at 4:04 of the second tie it up 1-1. It didn’t stay that way long as Connor restored the lead for Winnipeg at 8:18 by firing it past Hogberg.

The Senators got off to a better start in the first than they did Thursday. They were using their speed and creating chances, however, Ottawa was trailing 1-0 despite outshooting the Jets 9-6.

Ehlers’ one-timer on the power play somehow found its way through Hogberg’s five-hole at 14:03 to break the scoreless tie. That came with Ottawa’s Mike Reilly off for tripping and the Senators weren’t able to do anything with an opportunity with the man advantage before the period ended.

Making his debut after being activated from the taxi squad, it didn’t take long for Micheal Haley to get involved in this game. On only his second shift, Haley dropped the gloves with Nathan Beaulieu in front of the Winnipeg bench to try to make sure the Senators served notice they wouldn’t be pushed around.

The Senators will face the Vancouver Canucks onMonday night at Rogers Arena to begin a three-game series as this road trip continues. The club will have to make changes after fourth-line forward Cedric Paquette left this game with a upper body injury at the end of the second period.

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Twitter: @sungarrioch

SENATORS AFTERTHOUGHTS: Two solid periods, but Jets bury Senators with dominating third

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