The Columbus Blue Jackets played in their seventh-straight game at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night and capped off their homecoming of sorts with a 7-0 victory over the New York Islanders.
I saw right from the first puck drop the boys were ready for this.
That’s what Joonas Korpisalo had to say about his teammates on a night when the Blue Jackets’ goaltender recorded his first shutout in his National Hockey League career.
Columbus had five days off between their home loss to the Nashville Predators and the 7-0 shellacking of the New York Islanders on Saturday night. Clearly they took advantage.
Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno scored two goals of the backhanded variety and described why he thought the team performed at such a high level on Saturday evening:
I think it was a little bit of just our mindset growing as a team…A lot of it was Torts too…He had a real good talk with us just before the game about…maybe not focusing on all the things that could go wrong. He just said let’s got out and play…I thought that was a good move on his part.
Head Coach John Tortorella shared his thoughts after the game:
I thought they practiced a lot better than I thought they would yesterday and…They should feel good about themselves as far as going through this type of situation and getting this win.
Boone Jenner buried the biscuit against the Islanders and described why he thought the CBJ were ready to go after the time off:
I think it was just our focus. We were sharp in practice.
Defenseman David Savard had arguably his best performance of the year, with a goal-saving play in the defensive zone as well as a goal, two assists and a rating of plus- 5 in the game. His words after the game backed up his play on the ice:
I don’t think we had any question in our mind that we were gonna be sharp tonight.
However, it was Korpasolo’s play in net that earned the most praise. Torts talked about him putting the club in a good spot early on:
Korpi made some great saves in that first period to…give us a chance to get our legs underneath us.
On Sunday night I wrote “The five-day rest should be a huge benefit for Johnson”. Defenseman Jack Johnson broke a 23-game goalless streak that put the Blue Jackets up 1-0 with 14:41 remaining in the first period and had a season-high plus- 5 rating in the game as well.
Right winger Josh Anderson scored twice. John Tortorella mentioned he “Was really frustrated with him (Anderson) after the Nashville game” due to a bad line change against the Predators, but was impressed with his performance against the Islanders and added:
He’s got some great potential.
With such a huge lead, one might wonder how that affects the goaltender. Coming into tonight’s game, Korpisalo had leads of 6-0 and 4-0 in his previous two starts. He described what it’s like being on the ice with his teammates giving him plenty of goals on the scoreboard:
Kind of relieves the pressure on you. But you still have to be sharp.
Surprisingly, not many people have talked about the Blue Jackets also having five days off after their first two games of the 2016-17 regular season. It was the first win of the campaign that followed with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena.
This time, it was a 7-0 victory that may just spark a late-season run and shock the entire league all over again. Only time will tell…