The Blue Jackets earned a 1-0 victory vs. Ottawa on Monday night at Nationwide Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
It felt like a Monday night game, as neither team could generate much offensively and the puck was rather uncooperative. But Columbus broke a scoreless draw early in the third and the defense -- and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo -- did the rest as the team won its fourth game in five tries.
Video: Korpisalo shuts out Senators in Blue Jackets' 1-0 win
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "It just wasn't a clean game, to say the least. Give them credit. They check hard. They have a neutral zone system, a lock system on the left wing, and it's tough to get through there. So it wasn't a great game to watch, but we're on the right side of it."
- Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 50th career goal and extended his red-hot run to seven points (2-5-7) in the last four games. He also had a team-best four shots on goal.
- Zach Werenski had an assist to run his point streak to seven games (3-6-9), setting a new career high. It also ties the CBJ record for a point streak by a defenseman with Bryan Berard (2005-06) and Jaroslav Spacek (2002-03).
- Korpisalo earned his first shutout of the year and the second of his career with 25 saves, and he has now won four starts in a row.
The Blue Jackets had a couple of scoring chances in the first period, including Sonny Milano skating in alone but being denied by Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. Ryan Murray also started a breakout with an excellent pass that found Bjorkstrand, who fed Boone Jenner in alone, but his try hit the post.
Ottawa had the best chance in the first period, though, coming in the final minute. Pierre-Luc Dubois lost an edge while lining up a pass from Cam Atkinson in the high slot, and Ottawa went the other way with a 4-on-1, but Korpisalo made an excellent glove save on Thomas Chabot on the rush.
Video: OTT@CBJ: Korpisalo stops Chabot with the glove
Columbus had its own odd-man chance early in the second shorthanded, but the Jackets couldn't convert. On a 3-on-1, Werenski fed Atkinson, but as he tried to cut across and tuck it home he couldn't quite control it at the top of the crease.
The Blue Jackets didn't have an official shot on goal through the first 10 minutes, but their initial effort nearly went in as Bjorkstrand took a shot off the back boards and had an opening, but Anderson got a piece of it to keep the game scoreless.
The Senators' best look in the second came off the stick of Filip Chlapik with 6:15 to go in the frame, as his long shot hit the post behind Korpisalo.
It took just 21 seconds for Columbus to break the scoreless tie in the third. Boone Jenner won the faceoff to Zach Werenski, and his shot from the center point was sent home by Bjorkstrand with a high tip in the slot.
"It's a big face-off by Boone," Werenski said. "Their guy doesn't really pressure me too hard, allows me to skate a little bit. I was just trying to throw one on net. Bjorky has a good tip there and it finds its way in."
Korpisalo had to stand tall to keep the lead and did so near the midway point of the period as Connor Brown earned a shorthanded breakaway, but Korpisalo denied his attempt with his left pad.
He also made one more huge stop down the stretch, as a clearing attempt bounced to former Blue Jacket Anthony Duclair in front in the waning seconds, but Korpisalo made the stop to preserve the shutout win.
Video: OTT@CBJ: Korpisalo robs Duclair's point-blank chance
1. Well, it might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing game, but Columbus got the job done, and the key word -- one Tortorella has used all season -- was "patience." Facing a team determined to make it hard on the Blue Jackets to get scoring chances, Columbus in turn played its own excellent defense. That's an improvement from earlier in the season, when sometimes the Jackets would open up in such situations. "I don't think we tried to do anything crazy and get bored with it," Tortorella said. "We just stayed with it. You could tell it was going to be a grind all night long. I appreciate them just staying with it."
2. And if you're going to win a game 1-0, that means your goaltender has to turn in a pretty solid effort, and Korpisalo did just that. He wasn't tested a ton, but the times he was -- the Chabot save, the shorthanded breakaway by Brown and Duclair's late chance from in front -- the Finnish goaltender stood tall. He looked in control the entire night, and now Korpisalo has a .922 save percentage in his last eight outings. A shutout was just the icing on the cake. "In the second intermission I was like, 'OK, I never get any shutouts,'" he said. "That was surprising I got one."
3. There was a stretch of games recently where it felt like the crucial bounce went the wrong way for the Blue Jackets, but tonight it was in favor of the Union Blue. Werenski's shot from the point found the stick of Bjorkstrand, then was like a seeing-eye puck, finding its way into the twine. Hockey can be a game of inches, and right now, some of those thin margins are smiling on the CBJ, who have points in five of six. "We're getting those bounces," Bjorkstrand said. "It seemed like earlier in the season they weren't really coming, but right now they're coming. It's something you have to build on."
Columbus won its fifth straight vs. Ottawa. … With their assists on Bjorkstrand's third-period goal, Jenner now has 100 helpers in his career while Werenski upper his total to 99 career assists. … Bjorkstrand has three goals in the last four games vs. Ottawa. … Jenner won 13 of 22 faceoffs. ... The Blue Jackets scored first for the eighth straight game and improved to 10-2-1 when tallying first. … The Blue Jackets improved to 5-1-1 vs. the Atlantic Division this season and have won four straight at home. … Columbus gave up fewer than two goals for the first time this season. ... Columbus is 6-1-3 when tied after two periods and . ... The Blue Jackets went 0-for-3 on the power play but killed both Ottawa power-play tries. ... Columbus played in its 16th one-goal game of 23 so far, improving to 9-3-4 in such situations.
Columbus did not change the 18-skater lineup from the past two games, scratching forward Riley Nash and defenseman Scott Harrington.
The Blue Jackets continue a busy week with a Wednesday night home game vs. Philadelphia at Nationwide Arena.