The Blue Jackets were not happy, collectively, with their performance Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
If there was a positive to take from it, they had another game in 24 hours, and another opportunity was all they could worry about. It wasn’t easy, either, as the Maple Leafs were coming home after a 7-0 loss in San Jose last weekend.
But right from the start, there was more purpose – and perhaps most important, more skating and speed – in the Blue Jackets’ game tonight. It was nervy at the end, but they ground out a 3-1 victory at Air Canada Centre to snap out of a four-game skid.
They got a tremendous performance from one of their kid goalies to lead them along, as well. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 41 Toronto shots and wasn’t beaten until 57-plus minutes had elapsed, picking up his second NHL win in impressive fashion.
“I felt really good from the start,” Korpisalo said. “The team played solid defensively and played really well in front of me. We came in here and did our best.”
Losing a shutout in the final minutes, though? No big deal.
“It’s a big win for us and that’s all I care about,” Korpisalo said.
Indeed it was, and the Blue Jackets looked the part of a determined group in the early going. Their defense was active and up in the rush, they weathered some early penalty trouble, and when they made mistakes, Korpisalo was there to mop it up.
“It seemed like he saw everything,” said Brandon Dubinsky. “Not a lot of rebounds. He looked poised back there and looked like a seasoned vet. We’re happy for him to come in and get a huge win like that. “
Boone Jenner opened the scoring after the Blue Jackets came up with the puck down low, and Seth Jones pumped a low, hard shot through traffic that caught Jenner’s stick on the way in. His 15th goal of the season put Columbus ahead 1-0 at 15:08 of the first period, and in the second period, the Blue Jackets added on.
Despite 15 second-period shots from the Leafs, the Blue Jackets got a big goal from Alexander Wennberg with 3:43 left in the frame. Scott Hartnell won a race to the puck and washed out an icing call, Justin Falk got a shot through to James Reimer, and Wennberg was on the doorstep to bury the rebound.
The only Maple Leaf to beat Korpisalo was Brad Boyes, who scored an extra attacker goal with 2:27 remaining in regulation. Dubinsky iced it with an empty-netter at 19:58.
“I thought our goaltending was sound and a big reason why we won,” coach John Tortorella said.
And after a tough loss the night before that irked Dubinsky, he was fond of the way he and his teammates answered the bell tonight.
“For the most part, I liked the way we battled and competed,” Dubinsky said. “It’s not easy on back-to-backs, with travel and everything, so I’m happy with the effort tonight and proud of the way Korpi stepped up. We had a better start tonight and guys were more engaged.
“The work was certainly better tonight – our guys continued to fight and play hard.”