Korpisalo flawless as Columbus tops league-best Caps again
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Unlike the rest of the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets probably wouldn’t mind seeing more of the Washington Capitals.
Oliver Bjorkstrand contributed a pair of goals and Joonas Korpisalo notched his third career shutout as the Blue Jackets defeated Washington 3-0 on Monday night, their second win in a week over the league-best Capitals.
The win was just the second in eight games for Columbus, with both coming against Washington.
Korpisalo, who stopped 30 shots, is undefeated in three career games against the Capitals.
“We know we can win when we play our own game,” Korpisalo said. “We just go out there and battle, and keep the intensity level up. The start of the game was really good. That set up the whole game.”
Braden Holtby stopped 18 shots for Washington, which lost for just the second time in its last 10 games and suffered its first road defeat since Nov. 20.
Eric Robinson put Columbus on the board at 11:32 of the first period, taking a backhand pass from Alexandre Texier and slipping it past Holtby for his fourth goal of the year and fourth point in his last four games.
Texier’s assist was his fourth point in five games. He has 10 this season to lead Blue Jackets rookies.
The Capitals came to life in the second, outshooting Columbus 8-2 — including four shots from Alex Ovechkin — but the effort proved fruitless. Ovechkin ended the game with nine shots but had none in the third period.
“Early on they were able to pressure us, and we didn’t execute on some of the key areas that systematically we are usually really sounds on,” Washington coach Todd Reirden said. “We started making a push, then we’d make a mistake, and they’d end up converting on it.”
The Blue Jackets made it 2-0 32 seconds into the third period. Boone Jenner’s face-off put the puck on the stick of Gustav Nyquist, who fed Bjorkstrand in front of the net for the goal over Holtby’s right pad.
Bjorkstrand scored again at 8:46, taking a pass from Scott Harrington in the neutral zone and battling Radko Gudas down the ice before slipping the puck past a sprawling Holtby.
The goal was Bjorkstrand’s ninth on the season and third this year against the Capitals. It was his fifth career two-goal game.
“I was just trying to come with speed and be there,” Bjorkstrand said. “I kind of had it on my backhand, but instead of shooting backhand just tried to drag it across. I’m happy it went in this time.”
Rookie Andrew Peeke’s second assist was the first of his NHL career and came two periods after he left the ice bleeding after taking a puck to the mouth.
The win moved Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella into 15th place all-time in victories for head coaches with 635.
“We see where we are at in the standings,” Tortorella said. “We just need to find a way to scratch out points.”
NOTES: Columbus brought up forwards Marko Dano and Kevin Stenlund from the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters after losing Sonny Milano, Josh Anderson and Ryan Murray to upper-body injuries in Saturday’s game against Ottawa.
Capitals: At New Jersey on Friday.
Blue Jackets: At Detroit on Tuesday.
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