Korpisalo stops 29 shots, Blue Jackets beat Devils 4-1
By MITCH STACY, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets extended their win streak to four games and stayed in the thick of the battle at the top of the tough Metropolitan Division. The team’s productive top line is a big reason why.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson each had a goal and an assist on Tuesday night as the Blue Jackets beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1.
All three have recorded points in the past four games, with Atkinson scoring in each of the past three. He’s got a team-leading 27 goals and will be on his way to the NHL All-Star Game at the end of the month.
“When everybody contributes like that, it’s hard to beat us,” said Dubois, who has five points in the four-game stretch.
Boone Jenner also scored and Joonas Korpisalo had 29 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have won 11 of the last 14 games while sparring with Washington and Pittsburgh atop the division.
Korpisalo has started three of the last four games ahead of star Sergei Bobrovsky and won each time. The 24-year-old Finn could soon find himself the team’s No.1 goalie as Bobrovsky has refused to sign a contract extension with Columbus and may be traded before the deadline next month.
“Korpi has earned the time, just through his play,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “Korpi deserved to play tonight.”
Blake Coleman scored and Keith Kinkaid had 30 saves for the Devils, who saw a two-game winning streak end as they struggle to stay out of the Metro basement.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” Devils veteran winger Brian Boyle said. “You try to get some traction going. We work extremely hard. It’s been months of not (getting) the results we wanted.”
Coach Hynes said some players lacked effort on the second night of a back-to-back. New Jersey got a wild 8-5 win over Chicago on Monday night.
“It was just some individuals who were not ready to go and compete at the level we need them to compete at,” Hynes said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it was the whole team.”
The Blue Jackets grabbed the lead early and didn’t let up.
Atkinson tipped in a pass from Dubois 45 seconds into the game. Less than two minutes later, Josh Anderson, off a faceoff from the right circle, fed Jenner, who beat Kinkaid from the slot.
Late in the first, David Savard grabbed a face off and slid a beautiful pass from the left corner to the doorstep, setting up Panarin for an easy tip-in and a 3-0 Columbus lead.
Early in the second, Dubois snapped in a shot from the left circle for the Blue Jackets’ fourth power-play goal in four games.
Coleman redirected a shot by Mirco Mueller late in the second period to ruin Korpisalo’s shutout.
“I’m pretty comfortable,” Korpisalo said. “The way we play right now it’s pretty easy to play behind them. Like today, I don’t think there were any dangerous shots. They just clear the pucks in front of me, block shots and it makes me confident to play behind them.”
NOTES: Columbus coach John Tortorella coached his 285th game with the team, passing Ken Hitchcock for the franchise record. He is the franchise’s leader in wins (156-102-26). … New Jersey F Miles Wood was out with an undisclosed injury suffered in the game Monday night. … Coleman has five goals and two assists in the last five games.
New Jersey: At New York Islanders on Thursday.
Columbus: Hosts Montreal on Friday.
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