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Game 59 Recap: Jackets 7 Islanders 0

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After their bye week, the Jackets kicked off the stretch drive with a blowout of the visiting Isles.

NHL: New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t tell the Jackets that teams have had a hard time in the first game after the bye week this season. The Jackets played a near-perfect game in a rout of the Islanders in their first game since last weekend.

The coaching staff decided to start Joonas Korpisalo, a move which makes a lot of sense seeing as how Korpisalo had some action this week with the Monsters. Thomas Greiss was given the start for the Islanders.

The Jackets kept the shifts short early in the game, and were able to overwhelm the visitors with wave after wave of pressure. With Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak out with oblique injuries, Markus Hannikainen was called up and was slotted on a line with William Karlsson and Josh Anderson. The line made an impact early, with Karlsson breaking up a play in the defensive zone, springing Hannikainen and Anderson. The puck made its way to David Savard, who’s shot went ‘round the board to Jack Johnson. Johnson’s subsequent shot deflected off of Nick Leddy, beating Greiss.

1-0 Jackets: Jack Johnson (David Savard, Markus Hannikainen)

The assist on the goal was Savard’s 100th career point.

Korpisalo was put to work early, making a handful of terrific saves. Put me in the camp that believes that he is the answer to the question of who is Sergei Bobrovsky’s backup for the remainder of the season. Let’s see if the management team agrees.

The Jackets increased their lead at the 12:21 mark of the first. Cam Atkinson was hanging out in the neutral zone, and received a pass and went up-ice. His wrister was stopped by Greiss, but the puck trickled through his pads, and Boone Jenner was there to clean up the mess.

2-0 Jackets: Boone Jenner (Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky)

The Jackets powerplay, which had slipped to fourth in the league, was given an opportunity shortly after when Anders Lee was called for hooking. Sam Gagner, who has looked very good despite his goal drought, rang one off the post, and forced Greiss into a big save while on the man advantage. The Isles killed off the powerplay.

With Oliver Bjorkstrand serving on the second unit of the aforementioned powerplay, coach John Tortorella briefly reunited the line of Nick Foligno, Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Saad. The trio struck gold, with Saad feeding Wennberg, who then slid a nifty pass through a defender’s legs to Foligno. Foligno went forehand-backhand to beat Greiss.

3-0 Jackets: Nick Foligno (Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Saad)

The shots after the first period were 17-9 in favor of the Jackets.

Doug Weight elected to start Jean-Francois Berube in the second period, and just 1:42 in his bench was called for far too much man on the playing surface. Though it was no joy on the powerplay for the Jackets, they had some looks and kept the Isles hemmed in their end.

At the 4:31 mark, the Jackets went up by four. Boone had the puck in the offensive zone, and with Savard streaking toward the net Boone hit the brakes and instead laid the puck out for the trailer Josh Anderson, who made no mistake in blasting his 12th goal of the year past Berube.

4-0 Jackets: Josh Anderson (Boone Jenner, William Karlsson)

The play leading up to the Anderson goal was right after a huge save by Korpisalo, and a follow-up clear/save by Savard. Number 58 had a hell of a game, and has cemented himself as the clear number three blueliner behind Seth Jones and Zach Werenski.

At the 17:44 mark the Jackets went up by 5, and it was Anderson again. This time after a neutral zone faceoff loss, Andy stole the puck and skated up the right wing, firing the puck past Berube.

5-0 Jackets: Josh Anderson (Unassisted)

The newly constructed lines, due to the Calvert and Sedlak injuries, saw the formation of a Scott Hartnell - Gagner - Saad line, while Hannikainen, Karlsson and Anderson formed the other bottom-six unit. From a time-on-ice perspective, the Karlsson line played fewer minutes than the Gagner line, but both lines combined for seven points. This kind of secondary scoring will be vital down the stretch and into the playoffs.

The shots after two periods was 33-19 for the Jackets.

Unlike the last game when the club was up big against the Rangers, the Jackets didn’t take their foot off the gas as the third period commenced. In fact, they kept the pressure on and Foligno potted his second of the game after a lob pass from Savard.

6-0 Jackets: Nick Foligno (David Savard, Alexander Wennberg)

The secondary apple was Wennberg’s 40th of the year.

The scoring was capped off by two guys who had terrific games, and deserved to be on the score sheet. Savard wired a shot after receiving a feed from Gagner.

7-0 Jackets: David Savard (Sam Gagner, Brandon Saad)

FINAL SCORE: 7-0 Jackets

Oliver Bjorkstrand and Scott Hartnell were the only forwards who didn’t register a point, though both looked dangerous offensively at times.

Wennberg and Saad both had two-helper nights.

Anderson and Foligno each had a pair of goals. Anderson is now up to 13 goals on the year, and is firmly in the “Jarmo should offer Vegas something to not pick Andy” territory.

Boone had one of each and has been terrific lately. BOOOOOOOONE

Congrats to Korpisalo on his first career NHL shutout.

The Jackets are back in action tomorrow against the Rangers in Manhattan.