Perhaps the biggest news of the day leading up to the game was that defenseman Kevin Connauton was claimed on waivers by the Arizona Coyotes. This was the second blueliner the team lost in eight days on the waiver wire. Foreshadowing.
The Jackets started off slowly against the Leafs, not registering a shot on net for nearly the first seven minutes of the game. The Leafs had some chances, though none really from prime scoring areas.
The Columbus penalty parade seemed like it would continue, with three minor penalties in the first penalty (two from Scott Hartnell). The PK killed off all the power play opportunities and surprisingly, the CBJ stayed out of the box the rest of the game.
Boone Jenner started off the scoring at 15:08 of the first period when he redirected a point shot from Seth Jones. The newly-acquired defenseman received the puck up high after a good forecheck cycle from Josh Anderson and Kerby Rychel. Jenner's tip-in was good for his 15th goal of the campaign and gave the Jackets the 1-0 lead late in the first.
Remember that foreshadowing about defensemen? David Savard did not return after the first break due to an upper-body injury.
Toronto seemed to be pushing back in the second period when another late period goal by the Jackets flipped the momentum. This time, Alexander Wennberg was camped at the top of the crease and he was able to pick up a rebound off a Justin Falk shot. Wennberg went to his backhand while spinning and had a wide open net to make it 2-0 for the visiting Jackets.
Joonas Korpisalo was in a zone most of the night, looking calm and collected in net and stopping a barrage of Toronto shots. Late in the third, his shutout bid came to an end as Toronto had the goalie pulled.
After a board battle down low, the puck came out to Morgan Reilly with Toronto in the Columbus zone. He fired a shot from the blue line on net which Korpisalo was able to stop. Leo Komarov picked up the rebound in the slot and slid it over to Brad Boyes. He finished it off for his fifth goal of the season as Korpisalo had no chance. The netminder lobbied for interference as Peter Holland was right on top of him at the top of the crease, but the Jackets had already used up their review chance and so the goal stood without a second look.
Brandon Dubinsky slammed home a meaningless empty-net goal with a couple seconds remaining to seal the victory.
3-1 Blue Jackets
The game was not very exciting, as you might expect from two teams not close to the playoff picture.
Props to Joonas Korpisalo. The young kid played extremely well in net, stopping 41 of 42 shots.
The kids really seemed to carry this game. On the first goal, the four major contributors (Jenner, Anderson, Rychel, and Jones) are all under the age of 22. Wennberg, who had the eventual game-winning goal, is 21. Korpisalo is 21.
Some of the bad: the penalties in the first. Also, getting outshot 42-22 (lost every period on the shot count) is not a recipe for success.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Saturday at home against the Avalanche.