The Columbus Blue Jackets found their offense just as their road trip was about to end.
Ryan Johansen scored twice and added an assist, Ryan Murray had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 18 shots he faced to lead Columbus to an impressive 6-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday night.
Columbus finished with three wins during its five-game road trip, but it was held to four goals in its previous three games before the outburst Monday. The Blue Jackets return home to face the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.
It was the largest margin of victory for Columbus since an 8-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 10, 2010.
"We've got to build now," Johansen told Fox Sports Ohio. "We had our ups and downs on this trip. We can take some good things and things that we can look at. I'm sure once we get back, we'll go over some stuff from the trip. A lot of positive stuff from tonight that we can look at, and that's what you want."
Cam Atkinson broke a scoreless tie at 10:18 of the opening period. With the teams at even strength, Artem Anisimov sent a pass from behind the net in front to Matt Calvert, who backhanded to Atkinson for the easy tap-in past Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer. It was Atkinson's sixth goal of the season.
R.J. Umberger doubled the Blue Jackets' lead 18 seconds later with his sixth goal of the season. Ryan Murray carried the puck around the Maple Leafs net and fired a quick shot that was denied by Reimer, but Umberger was able to poke the rebound home to make it 2-0.
"We had a lot of guys step up tonight," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "We had a lot of players really step up when we needed them to."
Bobrovsky earned his fifth career shutout.
"We just couldn't find the pace of the game at all," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "It was like we were playing on our boots, and they were playing on skates. Every puck that was up for grabs, it just seemed that when we had it, we gave it away or we lost it, it went off the end of our stick, bounced over our stick. We couldn't get shots directed towards the net when we did try, and then when we tried to pass, we put the pass in the guy's feet. It was one of those ones where it was very frustrating."
The Blue Jackets continued to generate offense in the second period. Jack Skille scored his first goal of the season at 3:07, when he came down on a 2-on-1 with Mark Letestu, took the latter's feed and ripped it from the left circle past Reimer to give Columbus a 3-0 lead.
Murray made it 4-0 at 6:25 of the second via the power play. After Jake Gardiner was whistled for hooking, James Wisniewski sent a pass from the left circle to the slot for Murray, who fired a shot past Reimer for this third goal of the season. It also gave Murray his first multipoint game in the NHL.
Johansen scored the first of his two goals 9:05 into the third period. Nick Foligno collected a loose puck at the Blue Jackets blue line, which created a 2-on-1 the other way. Foligno then carried the puck into the Maple Leafs zone and sent a cross-ice feed to Johansen, who one-timed it past Reimer to make it 5-0.
Johansen scored again, this time on the power play, 2:19 later, ending Reimer's night. He finished with 15 saves on 21 shots. Foligno again picked up the primary assist, his second of the game.
"We all stepped up tonight. I was proud of everybody," Foligno said. "Some guys got timely goals. Mark Letestu made some great plays, Umby scores a big one, Cam gets us going, and Jack Skille jumps in and does a great job. We're getting contributions from everybody and our D are playing great. That's the type of effort we want."
Jonathan Bernier replaced Reimer and stopped the only shot he faced.
"I don't really have much to say, don't really have much to offer," Reimer said. "It just wasn't my night tonight. You'll have nights like that where the puck just eludes you. As hard as you work and as much as you try and bear down, it just doesn't work out sometimes."
Columbus finished 2-for-4 on the power play; Toronto was 0-for-1.
Anisimov was forced to leave the game with 9:10 remaining in the third period following a hit from Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Anisimov was carrying the puck through the neutral zone when he was struck by Toronto's captain, who was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal check to the head.
Richards said Anisimov "feels pretty good," but he will be evaluated further Tuesday.
"I hit him shoulder to shoulder," Phaneuf said. "[The referee] said from his angle he saw contact, but that's all I'm going to say on that. I felt that it was a clean hit, shoulder to shoulder."
Carlyle said Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul suffered a groin injury late in the second period. The severity is unknown. Lupul did not play in the third.
"Sore groin, so I don't know what that means," Carlyle said. "He just said he pulled his groin."
Tyler Bozak returned to the Toronto lineup after missing 12 games with a hamstring injury.
Material from wire services was used in this report.
|Cam Atkinson (6) ASST: Matt Calvert (1), Artem Anisimov (4)|
1 - 0 CBJ
|R.J. Umberger (6) ASST: Mark Letestu (7), Ryan Murray (3)|
2 - 0 CBJ
|Jack Skille (1) ASST: Mark Letestu (8)|
3 - 0 CBJ
|PPG - Ryan Murray (3) ASST: Ryan Johansen (8), James Wisniewski (15)|
4 - 0 CBJ
|Ryan Johansen (7) ASST: Nick Foligno (6)|
5 - 0 CBJ
|PPG - Ryan Johansen (8) ASST: Nick Foligno (7), James Wisniewski (16)|
6 - 0 CBJ
|Nikita Nikitin Hooking against Nikolai Kulemin|
|Jake Gardiner Hooking against Jack Skille|
|Mark Fraser Fighting (maj) against Dalton Prout|
|Dalton Prout Fighting (maj) against Mark Fraser|
|Mark Fraser Cross checking against Michael Chaput|
|Dion Phaneuf Illegal Check To Head against Artem Anisimov|
|Nazem Kadri Fighting (maj) against Matt Calvert|
|Matt Calvert Fighting (maj) against Nazem Kadri|
|James van Riemsdyk Hi-sticking against Jack Johnson|