Duclair's hat trick sends Sens past Blue Jackets 4-3 in OT
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Anthony Duclair finished off quite the ending against his former team.
Duclair scored on the power play in overtime to complete the hat trick and give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Duclair, who played in Columbus last season, has eight goals in his past five games and 18 overall on the season.
Duclair credits much of his success to being given opportunities that often weren't available to him in the past.
"I'm getting the opportunity to prove myself every shift," Duclair said. "Sometimes I don't have a good shift or make a bad play or whatnot, but the big thing is I'm right back out there next shift and I can prove myself that it won't happen again, compared to in the past sometimes if I make a mistake or whatnot I'm sometimes glued to the bench so just happy to continue to get opportunities."
Last year Duclair fell out of favor with the Blue Jackets and was traded to the Senators.
The 24-year-old seems to have found a home playing in Ottawa under coach D.J. Smith.
"What I've liked about him is that his work ethic has seriously improved," Smith said. "He's very responsive. He's a good teammate, guys like him. He's a team-first guy. It's great when a guy like that has success and then other guys pull for him."
Alexandre Texier had two third-period goals for the Blue Jackets, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime. Cam Atkinson added a first-period goal.
Elvis Merzlikins started the game, but was pulled after the first period, allowing two goals on eight shots. Joonas Korpisalo came on in relief and stopped 17 of 19 shots.
The Blue Jackets found a way to fight back in the third only to fall short.
"We played a good third period," coach John Tortorella said. "It's still not consistent enough."
Nilsson made a couple of fantastic saves in overtime, one on Atkinson and another on Oliver Bjorkstrand.
"He was good all night," Smith said. "If it's not for him we don't win the game, it's that simple. That's part of it. Sometimes the goalie's got to steal you one and I think he did."
The Senators led 3-1 going into the third, but the Blue Jackets cut the lead to one four minutes into the period as Texier, from the slot, slid one between Nilsson's pads.
Texier tied the game with his second of the game midway through the period.
"They clogged things up pretty good in the neutral zone so if we can get it in behind them and get in on our forecheck I think that's when we're at our best," Blue Jackets forward Eric Robinson said. "I think the third period was a product of that."
Nilsson believes the Senators can learn a lot from this game going forward.
"I think we played two really good periods, the first and second, and then I think we came out flat in the third and didn't play our game," Nilsson said.
"You see how good this league is that as soon as you step down a few percentages the other team takes over ... When we play at our level, the way we can, we're a really good team, but as soon as you step down 1 or 2 percent it's hard to win at this level if you don't play at a 100 percent."
Trailing 2-1, the Jackets opted to make a goalie change and put in Korpisalo.
Looking for the equalizer the Blue Jackets had a great opportunity, but Nilsson made a big save on a 2-on-1 break.
Moments later the Senators made it 3-1 when Brown broke in alone on Korpisalo to score his fifth of the season.
Duclair gave Ottawa a 2-1 after one period.
He opened the scoring in the early minutes, beating Merzlikins with a wrister.
Nilsson then appeared to make a spectacular save on Atkinson, but the Blue Jackets challenged and upon review the puck had crossed the goal line.
The Senators regained the lead as Artem Anisimov made a great pass to Duclair on a 2-on-1 and he buried it.
Nick Paul scored soon after, but once again Columbus challenged and the play was ruled offside.
NOTES: Duclair is the third player in Senators history to score a hat trick which included an overtime goal. He joined Bob Kudelski who did it on Nov. 5, 1993 and Jean-Gabriel Pageau who did it in Game 2 of the 2017 playoff series against the Rangers. ... The Senators are without D Dylan DeMelo, who suffered a hand injury Thursday. Andreas Englund was recalled from AHL Belleville. Scott Harrington was a healthy scratch for Columbus.
Blue Jackets: Host Washington on Monday night.
Senators: At Florida on Monday night.
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Updated December 14, 2019