A young Blue Jackets squad was outshot, but not outscored, by a veteran Blackhawks squad on Saturday. Powered by goals from Ryan Murray, Lukas Sedlak, and Oliver Bjorkstrand, the Jackets earned their first exhibition game win by a score of 3-2.
The win avenged the 5-2 loss the Jackets suffered at the hands of Chicago Tuesday on home ice.
Joonas Korpisalo, who allowed all five goals in Tuesday's loss, was outstanding Saturday through 60 minutes of play. He stopped 52 of the 54 shots he faced.
Chicago iced a roster that included captain Jonathan Toews, and veterans including Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and former Jacket, Brandon Saad, but they couldn't gain the edge offensively.
The game started on a positive note for the Jackets. For the first time this preseason, the Jackets scored the opening goal of a game.
11:51 into the opening period, Murray took the puck away from Alex DeBrincat before skating through the right circle and beating JF Berube glove side. It was an impressive individual effort from the 23-year-old defenseman.
The first Chicago goal came from former Jacket, Artem Anisimov. Korpisalo had stopped an Anisimov attempt from point blank range early. But then with 3:10 left in the first period, the Russian forward went on a breakaway off a Patrick Sharp pass. He fired the puck past Korpisalo to tie the game at one.
In the second period, the Jackets surged.
4:37 in, Zach Werenski got the puck to Bobby MacIntyre in the neutral zone. He carried the puck over the blue line and bounced the puck off the back boards to Lukas Sedlak who was set up to the right of the net. Sedlak promptly banged the puck in to make it 2-1.
28 seconds later, Vitaly Abramov fed Bjorkstrand who sped down the left side and launched a backhand shot past Anton Forsberg to gain a two-goal lead over Chicago. Jack Johnson had the secondary assist.
The Jackets held serve through most of the third period. On a late slashing penalty committed by Bobby MacIntyre, the Blackhawks pulled their goaltender to skate 6-on-4. Toews banged home the puck for a power play goal that set the score at 3-2, a tally that would stand as the final.
While they only produced 21 shots in the game, the Jackets were able to hold the Blackhawks at bay, backstopped by Korpisalo, to win 3-2.
The Jackets are now 1-2-1 in the preseason. They play a 3:00 p.m. matinee against Nashville Sunday at Nationwide Arena.
Video: Korpisalo makes 52 saves in Blue Jackets' 3-2 victory
By the numbers:
711: The number of NHL regular season games Jack Johnson has played, the most by a player on the Jackets Saturday roster.
347: The second highest number of career games played by a Jacket (Matt Calvert) on the ice.
6: The number of Blackhawks in Saturday's game who have played 717 games or more.
24: Average age of the Blue Jackets roster.
1: Goal margin of victory by the Blue Jackets.
What they said.
Ryan Murray on Korpisalo's play: "Making a couple big saves like that, you get the puck afterwards and you start going the other way and get a scoring chance right after or a goal right after a big save it's huge. It's a huge momentum shift. Korpisalo stood on his head, he was phenomenal."
John Tortorella on the play of his team: "They're playing against basically (the Blackhawks' NHL) lineup. We had a lot of kids in our lineup. To me it was a perfect exhibition game. Our goaltender gets a lot of shots coming off not a great effort in his first game. He comes in and plays the way he did here. The kids get to play in (the United Center), with a Saturday night crowd, and find a way to scratch out a win."
Oliver Bjorkstrand on capitalizing on 21 shots: "They had a good lineup. It's good to see that when we had a lot of AHL players, and young guys and not a lot of veteran players in our lineup. It's nice to see we can get a win against a good team like that. We played a good game. We played as a group, skated well, and played well defensively."
Tortorella on lessons from the game: "They're learning that when you're playing against mostly National Hockey Leagers, trying to force plays and make plays that really aren't there, really turns things as far as transition and the amount of time you spend in the end zone. We spent a lot of time in our end zone. But (our team) got sticks in the way. They blocked shots, they battled through shifts when they are tired. it was a great experience for these guys."