Joonas Korpisalo will be out 4-6 weeks for the Columbus Blue Jackets after the goalie had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee Monday.
Korpisalo sustained the injury during the shootout in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. He had to be helped off the ice after allowing a goal to Chicago's Jonathan Toews during the first round of the tiebreaker. After Gustav Nyquist scored for Columbus, backup Elvis Merzlikins allowed the deciding goal to Patrick Kane.
"It [stinks], just seeing how well he is playing now, to see him go out," captain Nick Foligno said. "But that's with anyone who goes out. He's answered a lot of critics and we've always believed in him. It [stinks] not to see him continue his strong play but it's like any injury, next man up. That's how it works in sports."
In his first season as the Blue Jackets No. 1 goalie, Korpisalo is 17-10-4 with a 2.49 goals-against average, a .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 32 games (31 starts). He is 5-0-1 in his past six decisions and has played in every game during the Blue Jackets' 10-game point streak (6-0-4).
"It hurts the team," Tortorella said. "At least my thinking, I feel bad for the kid. I do. He's been kicked about here for a number of years waiting for his opportunities, has stepped up and just got better and better as we go through here.
"I haven't been able to take him out of the net and I've been wanting to get Elvis in because we've been wanting to see who he is but [Korpisalo] has not given me an opportunity. He's played that good."
Merzlikins is without a win in his first NHL season. He is 0-4-4 in 10 games (eight starts) with a 3.41 GAA and .889 save percentage.
"I'm really sorry for [Korpisalo] because he doesn't deserve it at all," Merzlikins said. "I think I was more pumped up than him with the saves he was doing. He was playing amazing. It's just bad luck in this sport.
Columbus recalled goalie Matiss Kivlenieks from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis Monday.
The Blue Jackets host the Florida Panthers at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-O, FS-F, NHL.TV).
NHL.com independent correspondent Craig Merz contributed to this report