COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo helped the Columbus Blue Jackets put a distressing loss at Boston behind them.
Returning home Wednesday night, Columbus topped the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2, with Korpisalo stopping 39 shots in one of his strongest games of the season.
Korpisalo played in just his eighth game, starting in place of Sergei Bobrovsky on the first night of a back-to-back.
Article continues below ...
”The guy that is the second goalie not only needs to play the games but needs to win games if we want to get where we want to go in April,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. ”Korpi has found his way here.”
Seth Jones had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who never trailed in snapping a two-game losing streak – including the 7-2 rout at the hands of the Bruins two days ago. They moved into a tie for second place in a traffic jam of teams battling for the top spot in the tough Metropolitan Division.
Lukas Sedlak, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg also scored for Columbus, and Cam Atkinson had two assists.
”I thought the guys were really dialed in before the game,” Korpisalo said.
Jake Gardiner scored in the second period and Mitchell Marner added another goal in the third for Toronto (21-14-1), which has lost four of its last five.
Former Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney, starting for Toronto in place of Frederik Andersen on the second leg of a back-to-back, had 33 saves.
”I just thought we didn’t compete hard enough,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. ”Their team competed harder than us. There was no reason for us not to be ready here today.”
Sedak opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets (21-13-1) in the first period. Matt Calvert gathered in the puck in the right corner and fired out to Sedlak, who spun and snapped it in off McElhinney’s hip at the 12:57 mark.
Jones got a short-handed goal with 1:15 left in the period. He intercepted a pass in the defensive zone, carried the puck all the way and back and wristed it past McElhinney’s glove for his sixth of the season.
”We needed to get our confidence back, I think, and that starts with just making simple plays,” Jones said.
The Maple Leafs cut it to 2-1 at 4:26 into the second period after William Nylander knocked down a Columbus pass and set up Gardiner with a nice circle-to-circle pass.
The Blue Jackets answered with a power-play goal , with Cam Atkinson shoveling a rebound out from the back wall to Dubois, who tapped it in. Jones also picked up a helper on the goal.
Wennberg capped the scoring for Columbus in the third period, with Atkinson getting his second assist. Marner then made it 4-2 with about three minutes left.
The Maple Leafs were without top-scorer Auston Matthews, who missed his sixth game with an upper-body injury.
”We’re not as good without (Matthews), obviously, but I didn’t think that part was the issue, to be honest,” Babcock said.
Top-line defenseman Zach Werenski sat out with an undisclosed injury for Columbus. Markus Nutivaara skated next to Jones in his place.
NOTES: Jones has three goals in the last four games…Scratches for the Maple Leafs were F Josh Leivo and D Martin Maraincin….Columbus recalled D Gabriel Carlsson from Cleveland (AHL) Wednesday, a day after sending F Tyler Motte back down…The Dubois goal was a rare power-play tally for Columbus, which is worst in the NHL with a man advantage. He has four goals and six assists in the last 14 games.
Toronto: At the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Columbus: At Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
More AP NHL hockey at https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy