Three Thoughts: Joonas Korpisalo Rebounds, Leads Blue Jackets to 3-2 Win Over Loaded Blackhawks Lineup

By Rob Mixer on September 24, 2017 at 12:52 am
Ryan Murray
Dennis Wierzbicki - USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks were not messing around with their lineup tonight.

A quick glance showed no fewer than 12 regular NHL players suiting up for Saturday night's game against the Blue Jackets at United Center, the first of three straight preseason games for Columbus (and on consecutive days, too). The Blue Jackets did not bring as strong a lineup, but received solid individual performances from several players, headlined by goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.

Disclaimer: yes, the Blue Jackets were dominated at even strength. No surprise there. But the goalie was spectacular, so we'll focus on him for now.

Korpisalo didn't have his best stuff on Tuesday night in Columbus, but he needed to be good tonight. The Blackhawks fired 36 shots on goal through 40 minutes, so he had plenty to keep him occupied. At the other end, Ryan Murray, Lukas Sedlak and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored to give the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead after two periods. They held off a late Blackhawks charge to win 3-2, moving their exhibition record to 1-2-1.

Some of the names in the Chicago lineup? Toews, Anisimov, Saad, Kane, Sharp. It was the A-lineup for Joel Quenneville but the Blue Jackets were in this game right from the jump.


  • Korpi, Solid: The Blue Jackets moved to sign Korpisalo to a new contract this offseason, make sure the Vegas Golden Knights didn't take him in expansion, and all but said he was their No. 2 goaltender entering the season. His first preseason appearance, at home on Tuesday night, did not go well. He looked sluggish, struggled to control rebounds and it elicited memories of a forgettable 2016 preseason. Those memories are long gone after this game, a masterpiece against the bulk of Chicago's core group and they got their licks in. Korpisalo finished with 52 saves. Yes, he was the No. 1 star.
  • Calvin Climbin': On a night where the Blue Jackets mustered a mere 37 percent of the even-strength shot attempts share, one name stood out more than others. Calvin Thurkauf had a strong Traverse City tournament and has looked capable in limited preseason action; he was one of few players to finish positive in Corsi (52.4%) and seemed to get pucks in good places when he was on the ice. At this point, it's probably safe to say he's a long shot to make the club, but man, he's come a long way and impressed a lot of folks in just a short few days.
  • Quick Strike Kids: A pair of goals 28 seconds apart gave the Blue Jackets the only lead they needed. Lukas Sedlak corralled a dump-in and banked the puck in off J-F Berube to make it a 2-1 game, and on the next shift, Bjorkstrand shook off a Brent Seabrook check and sent a backhander through Berube's pads for a 3-1 advantage. Those two players, in their own right, will be playing elevated roles on this year's Blue Jackets team; Bjorkstrand is trending toward being an impact top-six player while Sedlak's penalty-killing role figures to increase in the absence of William Karlsson. Both players fared well in this game and have important seasons ahead of them.

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