The Columbus Blue Jackets featured a lineup close to what we'll see in their home opener next Friday in a 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Nationwide Arena in their penultimate game of the preseason.
Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Larsen talked earlier in the afternoon about the noticeable differences on the ice with both teams featuring rosters similar to what we'll see when the regular season is underway. "There's more skill, there's more speed, there's heavier bodies."
It was Joonas Korpisalo who shined the brightest in preseason game No. 6 for the Jackets, with a sprawling stick save on the penalty kill in the first period, followed by phenomenal saves during a 2-on-0 opportunity and a breakaway chance off the stick of Taylor Hall in the second period.
KORPI IS pic.twitter.com/s55X4ZCaBR— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) September 28, 2019
The lone blips on the radar for Korpisalo were a blazing shot from the aforementioned Hall that found the top-right corner of the net in the first period and a power-play goal from Travis Zajac to put the road team up 2-0 with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
In the offensive end, the Blue Jackets looked strong during the first few minutes of the contest -with all four lines displaying quick decision making, crisp passes and nice spacing before play got a little sloppy.
There were a handful or so of great opportunities to score in the first two periods alone, but Devils goaltender Cory Schneider stood tall. Right wing Cam Atkinson and center Alexander Wennberg each had a couple of chances at the doorstep, most notably a shot that Wennberg rung off the post three minutes into the 2nd period.
As far as fringe players - both forward Jakob Lilja and defenseman Vladislov Gavrikov were each penalized for high sticking - possibly hurting their chances to make the final roster.
Columbus failed to score despite three minor penalties from the opposition in the opening period - including 94 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey in that span. It was Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Nick Foligno and Seth Jones who were assembled on the top unit with an extra skater.
Josh Anderson blocked a shot late in the 2nd period and went down the tunnel, but returned to the game.
The Blue Jackets play their final game of the preseason on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. against the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena.