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Blue Jackets to start Korpisalo in key game vs. Edmonton

Sergei Bobrovsky 'nicked,' will not dress against Oilers

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

Since the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets have had three goaltenders in the mix. 

They were nearly down to one after Thursday's morning skate before tonight's game vs. Edmonton (9 p.m., Fox Sports Ohio). Sergei Bobrovsky did not practice because he is "nicked," head coach John Tortorella said, while Keith Kinkaid was the victim of a punishing hit levied by Josh Anderson during the skate. 

Bobrovsky will not play tonight vs. the Oilers, and no further update on his status is available. Kinkaid, meanwhile, shook off the cobwebs and will be ready to back up Joonas Korpisalo tonight. 

Korpisalo will take the net for the second time in three games -- he started the team's overtime loss Saturday at Boston -- and the third time in eight.  

"It feels good," Korpisalo said of getting the start. "It's a huge game for us today again, and to get to go feels great. Hopefully I can help the team today." 

PREVIEW: Blue Jackets take on Edmonton in key game

Korpisalo has been strong in his last two starts, giving up two goals on 33 shots vs. the Bruins and two goals on 30 shots in a shutout loss March 7 at Pittsburgh. The Finnish goaltender hasn't won since he picked up three victories in four games in January vs. Nashville, Washington and New Jersey, but since Christmas, Korpisalo has appeared in 12 games with a 2.28 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. 

"Korpi has been good for us all year long," Tortorella said after the Boston game. "He's stood in there really strong for us in a tough situation where he hasn't played much." 

Tweet from @BlueJacketsNHL: Torts talks about creating chances, playing with expectations and tonight's #CBJ lineup.

On the season, Korpisalo is 9-6-3 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. His last three starts have come against difficult foes in Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Boston, and tonight he'll have to face the high-scoring duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who have combined for 79 goals.  

"Preparation is the same," Korpisalo said. "During the game, you have to know who is in there. They line with McDavid and Draisaitl has been really hot lately, so you have to be aware." 

He'll be backed up by Kinkaid, but there was a scare with the trade deadline acquisition's health after he absorbed a big hit from Anderson during the team's morning skate. 

Anderson was battling with defenseman Scott Harrington during a drill and couldn't stop himself from going hard into Kinkaid. Anderson went head over heels while Kinkaid fell backward, with the back of his helmet going into the post. 

Kinkaid was looked at on the ice by trainers and needed a few minutes to gather himself but did return to practice and is good to go for tonight. 

"That's why I didn't play football growing up," said Kinkaid, who made the save on the play. "I didn't want to get crushed. I just got laid out. I needed a second to regroup and see if my head was still on." 

The former New Jersey goalie is yet to play in a game since coming to Columbus. On the year, he is 15-18-6 with a 3.36 GAA and .891 save percentage. 

"You always want that shot to prove yourself, especially with a new team," he said. "You just have to be patient and whatever is meant to be will be. All I can do is work hard right now." 

Of course, Kinkaid's stall in the Blue Jackets' road dressing room in Edmonton is located right next to Anderson's. Kinkaid couldn't help but have a little fun at the big forward's expense after practice.  

"I told him I'm going to throw his stuff in the shower later," Kinkaid joked. "It might be a little wet before game time." 

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