Three Things: Korpi-Solid, But Too Much Time in Box, Sputtering Offense Dooms Blue Jackets

By Ed Francis on August 4, 2020 at 7:57 pm
Joonas Korpisalo #70 of the Columbus Blue Jackets stops a shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff at Scotiabank Arena on August 04, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Andre Ringuette via USA TODAY Sports

Joonas Korpisalo couldn't save his team this time.

For as sharp as they looked Sunday evening, the Columbus Blue Jackets looked equally dull in Tuesday afternoon’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifying series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Korpisalo did his best with 37 saves, but he needed a bit more help in his team's 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Leafs.

Here are three things to take away from the game, as Columbus now finds themselves in a best-of-three series with Toronto.


Let’s start with a positive: This game is not on Joonas Korpisalo, who looked nearly as good today as he did in Sunday's shutout victory. After 55 saves in 96 minutes to start his postseason career, Korpisalo was finally beat late in the second period by Auston Matthews on an odd-man rush that had goal written on it from the start.

On the second (and only other) goal allowed by the Jackets netminder, John Tavares slipped the puck stick-side under Korpisalo’s arm on a breakaway following a Zach Werenski turnover.

That’s two goals, both that can be chalked up to Blue Jacket blunders away from the net. Korpisalo made all the saves he should have, some of the saves he shouldn’t have, and was one of few bright spots for Columbus this afternoon. 


“They’re a team that kind of thrives on the power play,” said Werenski following the game.

That’s very true, and while the Blue Jackets were able to hold the Maple Leafs without a goal on their five powerplays, spending ten minutes down a man won’t work at this time of year. Doing so against a team with the caliber of skill that Toronto has? That's even more ominous.

Columbus picked up minors in all three periods, keeping them on their heels too long and not allowing any type of consistent rhythm on offense. Killing the penalties was great, but merely taking them is what hurt the Blue Jackets most tonight. 


Getting your 20th shot on goal in the last minute won’t cut it, but that’s where the Blue Jackets were this evening. For a frame of reference, they hit 20 shots in game one's win with several minutes remaining in the second period.

More important than just getting shots, though, is getting the puck to the right people. The best example of that tonight came in the form of Oliver Bjorkstrand. The skilled winger was on the ice for nearly five minutes on the powerplay and over 15 minutes for the game and managed a shot total equal to the attendance: 0. 

It wasn't just Bjorkstrand, though. Only two Blue Jackets had more than two shots on goal in game two. Nick Foligno and Riley Nash led the team with three shots apiece; for Nash, all three of his looks came while the Blue Jackets were on the penalty kill.

This team is as healthy as they’ve been all season. The offense will need to improve if Columbus is going to play beyond this weekend.