WINNIPEG, MB - Outside of downing the New York Islanders 5-0 to start the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets haven't played a more complete game than the one they played Tuesday at Bell MTS Place.
Their 5-2 dismantling of the Winnipeg Jets, on the road, was impressive from start to finish.
It was their fourth straight victory, with three on the road. They set a new franchise high with 10 points after six games (5-1-0). They got a nice effort in net from backup Joonas Korpisalo, who made 24 saves after allowing five goals in his only other start - a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 7 in Chicago.
"Our home opener was a pretty solid game for us, and it was nice to have this one," said Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, who scored his first goal of the season. "At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you win, as long as you win … but these wins are nice."
Goals: CBJ - None; WPG - None
Shots: Blue Jackets 11, Jets 8
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets (26-13) 66.7%, Jets (13-26) 33.3%
The Skinny: Generally speaking, the Blue Jackets accomplished what they wanted in the first period. They just didn't score.
Offensively, Columbus created scoring chances and did a good job holding the puck in the Winnipeg zone. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski combined on the Jackets' best scoring opportunity, when they had back-to-back shots a second apart stopped by Mason.
The Jets also blocked 12 shots, as the Blue Jackets made a point to increase the number of pucks they sent toward the opposing net.
"You could tell we had really good energy when the game started," Tortorella said. "It's the best checking we've done all year long, and I think that helped us create offense."
In their own end, Korpisalo made some impressive saves, including a left pad save with a minute left in the period to deny Patrik Laine's hard wrist shot from the high slot.
QUOTE: "It helps give you some confidence and gets you relaxed there. I needed to make [some] good saves in the first period today. You never know when you have to make those, but you have to make those. I'm glad I made them today." - Korpisalo on his big saves in the first period
Goals: CBJ - Cam Atkinson (Artemi Panarin, Alexander Wennberg), 0:36; Nick Foligno (unassisted), 10:50; Jack Johnson (Brandon Dubinsky, Josh Anderson), 13:54; Lukas Sedlak (unassisted), 18:11; WPG - Kyle Connor (Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler), 12:30
Shots: Blue Jackets 16, Jets 11 (Overall: CBJ 27-19)
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Jets 50% (20-20), Blue Jackets 50% (20-20)
The Skinny: This story of this period was pretty goals, along with one ugly one.
The Jackets had three of the beauties, plus the ugly one, and all four counted the same. The Jets scored a nice goal of their own, but overall it was Columbus that got rewarded for dominating play in the first 40 minutes.
Atkinson got it started just 36 second into the period, after Wennberg broke up a play outside the Jackets' blue line. The puck went to Panarin and quickly to Atkinson, who skated it into a breakaway and scored his third goal of the season.
After approaching goalie Steve Mason at high speed, Atkinson used a slick backhand-forehand move to make it 1-0.
"That was a huge goal by Cam," Foligno said. "A great play by [Wennberg] inside our zone, and Cam made a great move. We played that well. We found ways get big goals. You could see everyone contribute. When we do that, we're a hard team to play against."
Foligno followed with his first goal of the season, which gave the Jackets a 2-0 lead midway through. After Mason robbed him of a sure goal moments before, Foligno made sure his second great scoring chance hit the mark.
He intercepted a pass by Wheeler, stickhandled through the slot and pulled Mason out of position. Foligno then slid the puck into the net just inside the right post.
"I had to make good for the first one, which should have been a goal," Foligno said. "I kind of read the play that he was going to drop it, and got lucky to make that move and put it in for us. But I knew how big that goal was for our team, to go up 2-0."
Winnipeg scored the next pretty goal. Mark Scheifele got the puck behind the Columbus net, threw a feed into the right circle and Connor buried it far side.
The Blue Jackets got the next two, including another dazzler to make it 3-1 when Johnson scored his first goal of the season off a cross-ice pass from Dubinsky - who earned his first point with the assist.
Sedlak's goal wasn't a work of art, but it was a big one. His bad-angle shot bounced off Mason's skates, trickled into the net and gave the Jackets a 4-1 lead with 1:49 left in the period.
QUOTE: "It's a big goal for us, the fourth goal, just throwing bad-angle shots on the goal. There's a lot of good things that come out of tonight's game."
Goals: CBJ - Zach Werenski (Seth Jones), 12:15; WPG - Joel Armia (Dustin Byfuglien), 18:23
Shots: Blue Jackets 12, Jets 7
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 50% (13-13), Jets 50% (13-13)
The Skinny: This period was about finishing, which the Jackets did.
Armia scored the last goal of the game for the Jets, with less than two minutes to play, but it was too late. By that point, the Jackets had already built a commanding 5-1 lead on a Werenski's third goal of season.
Prior to the start of the third, Foligno said the talk inside the Jackets' locker room was focused on one thing - keeping the pressure on Winnipeg for one more period.
QUOTE: "Tonight was probably our best game, most consistent game, and we get rewarded. Having said that, you move on. You don't get too excited. You keep it flat-lined. Get on the flight [Wednesday], we'll have a pre-game skate vs. Tampa on Thursday, and play against a really good team." - Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
Video: Korpisalo's 24 saves leads Jackets to 5-2 victory