The Blue Jackets scored a season high in goals and won their second straight game with a 5-2 victory vs. Montreal at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night.
Game in a Paragraph
In another tight game, the Blue Jackets and Canadiens were even after both one (1-1) and two (2-2) periods. But thanks to strong goaltending by Joonas Korpisalo and a trio of timely goals by Emil Bemstrom, Boone Jenner and Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus won the third period to win by multiple goals for the first time this year.
Video: Dubois scores twice in Blue Jackets' 5-2 win
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "I thought in the first period, we made a lot of offensive plays. I thought our second period was ridiculous, and then I thought we played a good third period. Korpi gives us a chance. He made some terrific saves at key times for us. We're not used to playing with a three-goal lead with three or four minutes left. We got a fortunate bounce (on Bemstrom's goal). That's part of it. A lot of teams get it and find a way to win. We did tonight playing a 40-minute hockey game."
- Bemstrom had a goal and an assist to extended his point streak to five games, allowing him to tie the CBJ rookie record for points in consecutive games.
- Dubois scored twice against his hometown team to tally his team-best ninth goal of the season and later added an assist. He now has seven multi-goal games in his career.
- Eric Robinson scored his second goal in the past three games. They're the first two goals of his career, and both came against Montreal and Carey Price.
CBJ goalie Joonas Korpisalo was deputized on the first shift to make a big save after a Blue Jackets turnover, and he was equal to the task as he kicked away a shot by Montreal's leading goal scorer, Brendan Gallagher, as he came in alone.
Shortly thereafter, the Blue Jackets took the lead. Utilizing the same lines Tortorella threw together late in Friday's win vs. St. Louis, Columbus had a strong shift in the offensive zone with good possession and puck movement, and it ended with a diagonal pass from the left point to low on the right from David Savard to Robinson, who one-timed it past Price at 1:24.
The Blue Jackets had some jump from there, but eventually Montreal clawed itself back into the game in the second half of the period and tied the score at 16:31. A blown chance to exit the zone bit the Jackets, as Phillip Danault got the puck below the goal line and fed it in front for the onrushing Artturi Lehkonen to one-time past the helpless Korpisalo.
Montreal continued with that momentum into the second period as it controlled the opening 10 minutes and also took a 2-1 lead. The goal came at 4:29, as Ben Chiarot had the puck under pressure at the left-wing wall and threw it on net, where Joel Armia tipped it past fellow Pori, Finland, native Korpisalo at the near post.
The Canadiens nearly doubled the lead, but Korpisalo made a nifty save on a breakaway by Nick Suzuki four minutes later. Max Domi's pass between two Jackets fed in Suzuki, but Korpisalo got the left pad on Suzuki's attempt to slide the puck between the goalie's legs.
The Blue Jackets finally got their footing in the period, though, and tied the score at 12:50 thanks to Bemstrom and Dubois. Bemstrom caused a turnover below the goal line, as he knocked the puck off the stick of Chiarot, and it went into the slot for Dubois to drill past Price to make it 2-2.
Columbus took a 3-2 lead with 13:06 to go on one of the flukiest goals you'll ever see. Dubois made a nice play to force a turnover and Sonny Milano found Bemstrom alone in front, and his backhand shot went wide of the cage but caromed off the glass back into the crease and into the net off of Price's blocker as he tried to seal off the crossbar.
Video: MTL@CBJ: Bemstrom scores on wild bounce off of Price
Armia nearly tallied just after the ensuing faceoff as he won a race to a loose puck, but Korpisalo got the pad out for the stop as his countryman came in alone.
The Blue Jackets then doubled the advantage to 4-2 with 8:54 to go as Jenner scored on the power play. Oliver Bjorkstrand's shot from the left wing was tipped expertly by Jenner through the legs of Price in front for his fifth goal of the year.
Columbus took a penalty shortly thereafter, but Korpisalo again came up big with a sliding glove save on Jordan Weal on the kill after he had been pulled out of the net momentarily.
"I just tried to scramble back in front of the net and I saw the puck was already coming," Korpisalo said. "I was like, 'Oh my God.' Good thing he shot it to the far side and not the near side because that was way open."
Thanks to that timely kill, the Blue Jackets stitched up the game on Dubois' second tally of the night at 14:33, as Gus Nyquist cut to the middle on a rush found Dubois low on the right for the easy finish.
1. When asked about the close games the team has played this year pregame, Tortorella said the Blue Jackets were hoping to win games by three goals, but it just hadn't happened yet. Finally, Tuesday night it did. It still wasn't the prettiest game -- Tortorella was left disappointed by the listless play in the second period -- but the third period finally gave the team some breathing room in a win. "I don't remember the last time we had a two- or three-goal lead," Dubois said. For the record, it was Nov. 1 in St. Louis, when the team led 3-1 and fell 4-3 in overtime. But this time when Columbus took the lead in the third, it kept looking for offense and found it. "We kept pushing," Dubois added. "The best defense is offense and I thought we did a good job of that tonight."
2. Speaking of the third period, while it wasn't always pretty -- Montreal had an 18-5 edge in shot attempts in the frame at 5-on-5 -- the Blue Jackets won a game the way NHL teams have to do so, and that's as a team. There were three timely goals, and in between there were excellent stops by Korpisalo. "He made some key saves," Tortorella said. It was kind of how you draw it up -- defense lifting up offense, which in turn lifted up the defense. Finally, in a stretch where things just haven't clicked, the pieces came together tonight.
3. Tortorella has spoken of the cloud that has been over the team of late, with the No. 1 culprit being the team's lack of goal scoring. As the coach says, you try to get excited about solid defensive play and good reloads, but players aren't having fun unless they're scoring goals. Tonight, the Blue Jackets scored goals, and it felt like Dubois' exuberant celebration after the fifth goal -- he peeled away from the play, spun his stick and sheathed it like a sword -- was almost like the monkey coming off the team's back. "I thought we played better offensively," Tortorella said. "That's really good news."
Korpisalo finished with 30 saves on 32 shots and now has a .922 save percentage in his last six games. ... Price finished with 21 saves. ... Columbus was 1-for-2 on the power play while Montreal was 0-for-2. … The Blue Jackets have scored first in five straight games but also trailed in each of those games. … Columbus improved to 8-1-1 when scoring first and also 5-0-3 when tied after two. ... Columbus blocked 21 shots. ... Alexander Wennberg had an assist to snap a six-game streak without a point. … Bjorkstrand had a pair of assists. ... Zach Werenski extended his point streak to four games (3-2-5).
The Blue Jackets made one change in the back end but kept the same 12 forwards. Ryan Murray returned to the lineup from injury in place of Scott Harrington, who was joined as a scratch by Nick Foligno (suspended) and forward Markus Hannikainen.
Columbus completes its three-game homestand Thursday vs. Detroit in Nationwide Arena.