Korpisalo makes 41 saves; Jackets end skid, beat Leafs 3-1
Jan. 14, 2016
TORONTO (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets satisfied their demanding coach with their effort off the puck Wednesday night. Their goaltender was pretty good, too.
Rookie Joonas Korpisalo made 41 saves and the last-place Blue Jackets snapped a four-game skid with a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I think a big part of winning in the NHL is your structure and play away from the puck," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "I think we're good at it sometimes, sometimes we can't find it. ... We've talked about it since I've been here and it's the consistency of playing with structure and I don't think we've totally played with that."
The 21-year-old Korpisalo entered with just one win in six starts this season and had a 3.69 goals-against average and .882 save percentage. Boone Jenner, Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Dubinsky scored for the Blue Jackets.
"I think at times we have shown we can (play the right way), good structure, be competitive," Tortorella said. "Our battle is our consistency. We got a good group there and I think they're proud people... Bottom line is you need to play."
Brad Boyes scored late for the Maple Leafs. Toronto has totaled just two goals while losing its past three games and fell to 7-20 after allowing the first goal and 1-12-3 when trailing after 20 minutes.
"Catch-up hockey is losing hockey," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. "Their goaltender was good, but we need to score first so we don't have to chase the game. You don't make the same plays because you're pressing."
Toronto's James Reimer stopped 19 of 21 shots.
Nazem Kadri had Toronto's first good opportunity to score while on a power play but wasn't able to beat Korpisalo on the blocker side from the slot early in the game.
Columbus opened the scoring when Jenner tipped Seth Jones' point shot from the high slot past Reimer at 15:08 of the first period.
Rene Bourque had a great chance to double his club's lead before the first ended but was turned away on a breakaway by a sprawling Reimer.
Toronto held the lead in shots 6-0 to start the game before William Karlsson put the first one on net for Columbus at 7:03. The Maple Leafs took a 10-8 shot advantage into the first intermission and were up 25-17 after 40 minutes.
"We got a lot of shots on net but not a lot of second chances," Boyes said. "They blocked a lot of shots and boxed us out pretty well."
The action picked up in the second after a slow opening period and Korpisalo was forced to make two big saves midway through — first on a point shot from Dion Phaneuf that took a deflection and then another on Peter Holland on a one-timer from between the faceoff dots.
Columbus made it 2-0 late in the period when Toronto couldn't get the puck out of its own end and Scott Hartnell took control of it behind the Leafs net. Reimer stopped Justin Falk's point shot but couldn't corral the rebound and Wennberg was able to put it home on the backhand at 16:17.
Boyes put Toronto on the board with 2:27 to play in the third, with Reimer on the bench for a sixth attacker, but Dubinsky added an empty-netter in the final seconds.
Before Boyes scored, the Leafs had gone 127:27 without a goal. Their power play is also just 2 for 27 in their last eight games after being held scoreless on three chances Wednesday night.
NOTES: Shawn Matthias took James van Riemsdyk's spot on Toronto's top line. Van Riemsdyk missed his first game since fracturing his foot. ... Jones' assist on Jenner's goal was his first point for the Blue Jackets since being acquired from Nashville last week. ... Toronto heads to Chicago on Friday night to face the Blackhawks while the Blue Jackets return home to host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.