Spezza scored late in the first and Brian Elliott(notes) stopped 32 shots in his third straight start for the Senators, who ended a four-game winning streak with a 3-1 loss in New Jersey a night earlier.
Hejda called out Spezza following the Blue Jackets’ 1-0 win in the last meeting between the teams on Jan. 30, saying in part, “He seemed like he didn’t really want to play, like their season was maybe done.”
“It was bizarre for a team that we never play,” Spezza said.
While he didn’t understand what sparked the critique, the Ottawa center clearly had a long memory.
“We just wanted to play hard,” said Spezza, whose second goal in 21 games tied it at 1. “You remember it—you don’t worry too much about it but going into the game I definitely looked back to when we were struggling and they weren’t shy to step on us a little bit and rub it in.”
The Senators won their fifth straight home game to improve to 10-3-3 at Scotiabank Place.
“I didn’t really read into that too much,” Foligno said. “I’d kind of forgotten about it but I do remember it now and obviously Jason’s kind of the professional level, just playing the game no matter who’s out there.”
Mason made 34 saves. He was pulled after two periods Monday night in his last game when he allowed four goals on 18 shots in a 7-4 road loss to the New York Rangers.
Referee Dave Jackson sustained a knee injury when Nash crashed into him in the right corner 7:51 in. Tripped behind the Senators’ net by Ottawa defenseman Filip Kuba(notes), Nash slid skates first into Jackson’s legs, knocking the referee to the ice in obvious pain.
Jackson favored his right leg as he was helped off the ice. He did not return, leaving Frederick L’Ecuyer to work solo the rest of the game.
Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire(notes) was unavailable to face his former team. Leclaire, traded to Ottawa by Columbus for Antoine Vermette(notes) at last year’s trading deadline, is out for four weeks with a broken jaw after he was struck by a puck while sitting on the bench during Monday’s overtime win over Washington.
With Anton Volchenkov(notes) and Mike Fisher(notes) also lost to injury, Ottawa got more bad news earlier in the day when they lost Chris Neil(notes) for two weeks because of a knee injury suffered Wednesday.
Huselius gave Columbus a brief 1-0 lead with his 10th goal on a power play 17:41 in.
Ottawa tied it 51 seconds later when Spezza scored at 18:34 with a delayed penalty signaled.
“He’s been playing well,” Foligno said. “It’s just chances haven’t gone in for him and it was nice to see him get that one.”
NOTES: Vermette faced Ottawa for the first time since he was traded to the Blue Jackets. … Senators RW Alex Kovalev(notes) assisted on Spezza’s goal in his return to the lineup after missing three games to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral in Russia.