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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 3, TBL 1

Blue Jackets shake off slow start & Korpisalo makes 31 saves in bounce-back win

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer /

Did the Blue Jackets have their best tonight? No.

Did they dig deep, get better through the game and find a way? You bet.

And much like Tuesday's game in Raleigh, this game unfolded unconventionally beginning with a delayed start; the pre-game jersey retirement of Martin St. Louis pushed the puck drop from its original 7:30 p.m. back to 8 p.m., but before the ice was ready to go, it was 8:30 p.m. and there was another curveball yet to be thrown.

Sergei Bobrovsky, tonight's scheduled starter, fell ill again just before the game and Joonas Korpisalo stepped in on short notice. His performance, though, was one of the reasons why the Blue Jackets were able to hang tough and get two points out of the game. He made 31 saves in his season debut - 18 of those coming in a dominant first period for Tampa Bay - and kept his team in the game when it could've easily gotten out of hand.

Josh Anderson tied the game late in the second period, Nick Foligno scored the go-ahead goal on the power play in the third, and Boone Jenner added a long-distance empty netter in the late stages of regulation to seal the deal.

"We sucked in the first period," coach John Tortorella said. "You don't want to write it up that way, but for us right now and where we're at, that's a good way to find a way to get a win. I'm not sure what happened to us at the beginning of the game, but we just no-showed."

Video: Torts' reaction to the Blue Jackets' win in Tampa

Here's what we learned:

YOUR TURN, KORPI: Korpisalo found out he was playing with less than 20 minutes until game time. He admitted that probably helped him forget about being nervous, and instead, just get his gear on and in the frame of mind to play a game. On a night where the Blue Jackets needed a strong effort from the goaltender, especially given their slow start, Korpisalo delivered just that. As the game developed, the Blue Jackets seemed to feed off his calm demeanor in the net and it allowed them to get back on their game in the second period.

"How about Korpi? He steps in and is just unflappable," Tortorella said. "He was outstanding in the first period and gave us a chance to win."

Video: CBJ@TBL: Korpisalo makes a series of saves on Drouin

GOOD ENOUGH: This was an emotional night starting with the St. Louis ceremony, and you knew the Lightning were going to start the game with a strong push. Korpisalo was a key factor in keeping them off the board until late in the frame, but Jonathan Drouin's net-front goal was the only blemish for the young netminder. The Blue Jackets only had 39 percent of even strength shot attempts in the game and were heavily out-shot in the first half of regulation, but they were opportunistic; Anderson's tying goal came on a broken play and Foligno's game-winning tally was a rebound in front of the Lightning net.

"That was probably our poorest start of the year," Foligno said. "It's disappointing. But what I really liked is how we answered; we knew that wasn't nearly good enough for what this club is expected to bring. That's the kind of effort you need throughout the season."

Video: CBJ@TBL: Foligno buries a rebound for PPG

A SLIGHT CHANGE: Midway through the game, Tortorella reverted back to the line combinations he'd used for the bulk of the season. He made a few changes prior to this game in an effort to spark the team, but something was slightly off in their game and he decided to go back to what had worked previously. It turned out to be the right move, as the Blue Jackets found a bit of a spark and started playing "on their toes" more in the second and third periods.

"You go back to what you're familiar with," Foligno said. "That always helps. Our power play gets (a big one) for us and Boone does the job at the end. It's a big team win after not our best first period. We have to find a way to battle through adversity - there's going to be different kinds, and tonight, it was our start."

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