Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella (jokingly?) alluded on Monday morning that he wasn’t even sure of his rookie goaltender’s last name.
It didn’t take long before Joonas Korpisalo made a profound impact on not only the bench boss, but the rest of the team.
He was confident, calm and embraced the stage of his first career start against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 21-year-old Finn got into the game right away, making a big stop on Lightning sniper Nikita Kucherov and also robbing Alex Killorn on a breakaway.
Korpisalo, called up on an emergency basis with Sergei Bobrovsky nursing a groin strain, didn’t get the win in his NHL debut, but he did enough to earn himself another start tonight.
He gets the call in Dallas as the Blue Jackets take on the league’s No. 1 team at American Airlines Center. The Stars (22-6-2) have taken control of the ultra-competitive Central Division but are coming off a shutout loss to St. Louis over the weekend.
It’s a tough test for the Blue Jackets but one that Tortorella feels Korpisalo is up for, especially after he got a first look at the young goaltender last night.
“You could see it right from the (start of the game), and I like watching mannerisms of players and how they react,” Tortorella told Bob McElligott pre-game. “When I went up to him and told him he was playing – I can’t tell you what he said to me – but I love what his answer was. I loved how he started the game.
“There was no fear, no nervousness. He wanted it. I thought he played really well.”