Blue Jackets’ offense erupts in 5-2 win over Maple Leafs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Joonas Korpisalo has been shuttled between Columbus and the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Cleveland quite a bit this season. Maybe now, coach John Tortorella will let him stick around.
The backup goalie made 31 saves, Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner had a goal each and the Blue Jackets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Columbus moved into a tie for second place with Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins visit on Friday night in what is likely to be a playoff atmosphere at Nationwide Arena.
Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Matt Calvert also scored, and Alexander Wennberg, Zach Werenski and Seth Jones each had a pair of assists for the Blue Jackets.
“I thought the lines had more balance tonight right on through,” Tortorella said. “Every line contributed.”
Nazem Kadri scored both goals for Toronto, and Curtis McElhinney blocked 30 shots. It was a homecoming for McElhinney, who was waived by the Blue Jackets earlier this season after backing up Sergei Bobrovsky the past few years.
Josh Leivo assisted on both goals for the Maple Leafs, who squandered a chance to move ahead of Ottawa and Boston for second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Blue Jackets led 2-0 after the first period and took a 4-1 advantage into the third.
“Tough start,” Kadri said. “I think we dominated the second half of the game, but by then it was too late.”
Anderson started the scoring by poking in a rebound from the blue paint 4:30 into the game. The call was delayed while officials looked at the video replay to make sure McElhinney wasn’t pushed out of the way by a Columbus player. It was Anderson’s 11th goal of the season and his first in 15 games.
Later in the first period, Jenner scored by pushing in the rebound from a shot by Werenski.
Bjorkstrand got a breakaway from just inside the blue line after a steal by Brandon Saad and scored 1:32 into the second. Bjorkstrand was called up from Cleveland on Tuesday to replace Scott Hartnell, who was injured in Monday’s game against the New York Rangers.
Foligno scored on a power play midway through the second. Werenski launched a wrist shot from the high slot that glanced off Foligno’s thigh on the way in. Foligno got credit for the goal, and Werenski his second assist of the game.
The Blue Jackets, who led the NHL in power-play percentage for much of the season, scored with a man advantage for the first time in 10 games, ending an 0-for-16 drought.
Toronto got on the board with 2:32 left in the second when Kadri put back a rebound from just outside the blue paint. Kadri got another 6:19 into the third when he tipped in Leivo’s pass.
Calvert capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:21 left.
“I think our first two periods were really good,” Werenski said. “(We) kind of pulled our foot off the gas there in the third, but they’re a good team and they made their push. I think we did a good job of weathering the storm there, so I thought it was a good 60 minutes for us.”
NOTES: McElhinney was in the net for the Maple Leafs after starting goaltender Frederik Andersen made 33 saves in a 7-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday. … The Blue Jackets are 9-10-1 since a franchise-record 16-game winning streak earlier this season. … Toronto F Nikita Soshnikov missed his fourth straight game due to an upper-body injury. … Columbus hasn’t been outshot since Feb. 3 against Pittsburgh. … Kadri has five goals and 10 assists in his past 13 games.
Toronto: Hosts Ottawa on Saturday night.
Columbus: Hosts Pittsburgh on Friday night.
- Boone Jenner
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- FOX Sports Ohio
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- Joonas Korpisalo
- Matt Calvert
- Nick Foligno
- Oliver Bjorkstrand
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Zach Werenski