Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Eric Robinson, left, is checked by Chicago Blackhawks defender Connor Murphy during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Korpisalo makes 31 stops, Blue Jackets beat Blackhawks 2-1

Korpisalo makes 31 stops, Blue Jackets beat Blackhawks 2-1

CHICAGO — The Columbus Blue Jackets had tired legs and a fresh Joonas Korpisalo.

On Friday night, at least, it was enough.

Korpisalo made 31 saves and Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist, sending Columbus to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

“We weren’t as sharp as we like to be, but Korpisalo was easily our best player,” coach John Tortorella said.

The Blue Jackets have one of the NHL’s best goaltender tandems in Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins, and that duo played a key role in consecutive wins. A night after Merzlikins had 33 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory over Florida, Korpisalo took over.

He stepped up as Chicago pushed for the tying goal, denying Patrick Kane in front about seven minutes into the third. He also caught a break when Carl Soderberg’s shot through the goaltender’s legs was just wide with a couple minutes left.

“Korpy made some huge saves,” Bjorkstrand said.

Eric Robinson also scored for Columbus, helping Korpisalo get the win against good friend and fellow Finn Kevin Lankinen. The Blue Jackets extended their point streak to seven.

Lankinen made 25 saves in his fifth career start — all this season.

“That was really fun,” Korpisalo said. “I think it’s been like six or seven years since we played against each other. He won that one, so that was great to win today.”

Dylan Strome scored for Chicago, which had recorded at least one point in five straight games.

“It’s tough to come from behind against a team like that and they’ve got really good goaltending,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “But I thought we did a lot of good things, and we did more than enough to score more than one goal.”

The Blue Jackets jumped in front on Bjorkstrand’s power-play goal 8:53 into the first period. Mattias Janmark had a chance to clear the puck out for Chicago, but Columbus kept it in and Cam Atkinson found Bjorkstrand in the left circle for a one-timer.

The Blackhawks pushed for the tying goal early in the second, but Strome had a wraparound attempt knocked away by Blue Jackets defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov.

“It was a game I thought we played well enough to win,” Strome said. “Did a lot of good things and felt like we had the puck quite a bit but came up short.”

After Chicago had an extended stay in Columbus’ zone, the Blue Jackets got it out and the speedy Robinson skated out on a breakaway. He beat Lankinen on the glove side for his second goal of the season and a 2-0 lead at 3:39.

Bjorkstrand got the only assist on the play. He has three goals and five assists in his last seven games. He almost picked up another goal in the third, but Lankinen used his glove to push away his shot from right in front.

Chicago got on the board when Kane found Strome in the slot for the centre’s third goal, making it 2-1 midway through the second. The connection gave the Blackhawks at least one power-play goal in eight of their nine games this season.


Columbus forward Jack Roslovic played 14 minutes on his 24th birthday. The Columbus native was acquired in a blockbuster trade with Winnipeg last week that also moved Patrik Laine to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Pierre Luc-Dubois and a third-round draft pick.


The teams play again Sunday night. Then Columbus opens a four-game homestand against Dallas on Tuesday night, and Chicago hosts Carolina on Tuesday night.


Jay Cohen can be reached at


More AP NHL: and

Jay Cohen, The Associated Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo, right, makes a save on a shot by Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Hagel during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Most Read