Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines goalie Joonas Korpisalo's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.
Birthdate: April 28, 1994
Height/Weight: 6-3, 182
There were moments when Joonas Korpisalo flashed glimpses of brilliance, when the only way to know the difference between he and Sergei Bobrovsky were their masks and jersey numbers.
Then, there were other moments, when things went poorly and it seemed like Bobrovsky might need to make 20 consecutive starts for the Blue Jackets to clinch a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was a roller-coaster ride for both Korpisalo and the Jackets, who have the Finnish goalie under contract for one more season - at $900,000 - before he becomes a restricted free agent.
Looking back, most of Korpisalo's numbers backslid from his previous two seasons, including an impressive rookie campaign in 2015-16 - when he played 31 games and went 16-11-4 with a 2.60 goals-against average (GAA) and .920 save percentage.
Korpisalo, who also made eight starts with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League this season, went 8-8-1 in 18 appearances for the Jackets, finishing with a 3.32 GAA and .897 save percentage.
Those were disappointing measures, overall, but they don't tell the entire story of Korpisalo's season.
He also had some impressive highs, including a strong rebound performance from a skid in February and March. Called upon to fill-in for Bobrovsky, who got sick and couldn't play, Korpisalo allowed just one goal Mar. 6 at Nationwide Arena to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights in what turned out to be the second game of the Jackets' 10-game winning streak.
He won his next two starts, as well, for a personal season-high in consecutive wins (three).
Bouncing back next season is his focus, but for now there's merit in looking back at Korpisalo's season, through the numbers, to see how it impacted the Blue Jackets:
Number of times Korpisalo was assigned to Cleveland and quickly recalled, after getting in an AHL game or two to stay sharp. The Blue Jackets took advantage of their AHL affiliate's proximity, sending a handful of players back and forth on the two-hour commute to get in extra work. Korpisalo made the trip so often, they might want to start a movement to rename Interstate 71 "The Korpi Expressway."
According to corsicahockey.com, Korpisalo posted the highest save percentage of his NHL career against high-danger scoring chances. His .837 percentage was a tick higher than the .833 he posted in 2015-16, when he was a rookie. It was also significantly higher than his .739 high-danger save percentage in 2016-17.
Korpisalo made 37 saves in the victory against the Golden Knights on Mar. 6, when Bobrovsky couldn't play because of illness. The Blue Jackets were coming off a three-game trip to play the California-based teams and fought through tired legs due to jet lag. Korpisalo, who didn't find out he'd start until the morning skate, wasn't affected.
Five was a common thread in Korpisalo's stat line. First, he had a stretch of five straight appearances allowing just two goals, stretching from Nov. 7 to Dec. 20. Then, after allowing five goals in three of five appearances Dec. 31 to Mar. 1, he finished the season with five games of five goals allowed.
Korpisalo didn't record a shutout but came really close against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 18 in Columbus. Kopisalo, who made 35 saves against 36 shots in the Jackets' 2-1 shootout win, lost his shutout bid with just 2:05 left in the third period - when Alexander Radulov scored the tying goal 125 seconds before the horn sounded.
Not all of Korpisalo's stats dropped. In fact, one of the most critical metrics for goalies improved to an NHL career-high. He became the Blue Jackets' best penalty-killer while Columbus was short-handed with him in net, posting an .893 short-handed save percentage and allowing just eight power-play goals on 75 shots.