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Da Costa's first two-goal game carries Senators

The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Center Stephane Da Costa routinely struggles to produce offense during his on-again, off-again career with the Ottawa Senators. The bigger the stage, the smaller his confidence, he said.

Maybe he should play the Columbus Blue Jackets more often.

Da Costa, called up from the minors four games ago, scored his first two goals this season and had the first two-goal game of his career Tuesday, leading Ottawa to a 3-2 win over Columbus before 13,373 in Nationwide Arena.

Center Jason Spezza, who assisted on one of Da Costa's goal, scored the power-play game-winner with 4:58 remaining.

"I tried to keep the puck on my stick a little more, be a little more confident with the puck," Da Costa said. "I've struggled every time I've come up with being nervous to make mistakes."

Goaltender Craig Anderson made 34 saves for Ottawa, which let a 2-0 lead slip away before Spezza's goal.

Right winger Cam Atkinson and defenseman James Wisniewski scored for the Blue Jackets, while goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 25 saves.

The Blue Jackets (26-23-4) lost for the third consecutive game after a franchise-record eight-game winning streak.

"It took a long time for us to get into the game," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "And some of our guys still aren't going.

"To me, that's it right there. We're a good team when we have 18 skaters going. We were missing too many tonight."

Ottawa was clearly the faster, sharper club from the start of the game.

Da Costa made it 1-0 at 8:06 of the first period with the Senators on the power play, jumping on a loose puck in the slot and burying a shot past an off-balance McElhinney.

It was his first goal since Feb. 13, 2013, vs. Pittsburgh, and only his sixth goal in 43 career NHL games.

"I just saw it lying there, so I jumped on it," Da Costa said.

At 6:24 of the second, Da Costa struck again. This time, he got behind Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson and buried a perfect feed by Spezza from behind the goal line.

"It was real good to see him score," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "I thought he was a good player for us. Since he's come up, he's shown good offensive instincts and he's moving his feet defensively. It was good to see him get on the board."

It wasn't until the Blue Jackets scored a power play at 12:00 of the second that the ice seemed more balanced.

Wisniewski took a shot from the right point, and left winger Matt Calvert deftly redirected the pass into the slot, where Atkinson was waiting.

On the game-tying goal, Wisniewski left nothing to chance.

With the Blue Jackets on the power play, Wisniewski took a touch pass from Atkinson at the blue line and rocketed a slap shot past Anderson at 7:16 of the third.

The Senators went on the power play late in the third when Blue Jackets right winger Nathan Horton was called for tripping Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Spezza made them pay. Moments after a shot from defenseman Marc Methot, Spezza corralled the rebound in the slot. His second attempt went in under the crossbar.

NOTES: Blue Jackets D David Savard missed a third consecutive game because of an illness. ... Senators D Cody Ceci was told by management to seek a permanent residence in Ottawa, that his days of bouncing back and forth between the NHL club and AHL Binghamton are done. Through 20 NHL games, Ceci had one goal, four assists and a plus-2 rating. ... After missing nine games with a knee sprain, Blue Jackets RW Blake Comeau returned to the lineup. Columbus RW Corey Tropp was a healthy scratch.
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