Tuesday night in Carolina, Anton Forsberg made his first start of the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It may also have been his last. Forsberg allowed four goals on 27 shots in a 5-3 loss, and yesterday he was sent back to the AHL.
Staying up with the Jackets is young Joonas Korpisalo, who’d been recalled to back up Forsberg due to Sergei Bobrovsky‘s illness.
Bobrovsky is better now and is expected to start tonight in Tampa Bay. But Korpisalo may get a chance to play soon. The Jackets also have a game tomorrow in Sunrise.
Prior to getting called up, Korpisalo was not enjoying a particularly good season in the AHL, where he was 5-5-1 with a .900 save percentage for Cleveland. But unlike Forsberg, who’d been playing well for the Monsters, Korpisalo has been good in his limited time in the NHL. Last season, the 22-year-old went 16-11-4 with a .920 save percentage. He’d come up to the big club after Bobrovksy was sidelined by a groin strain.
Read more: Korpisalo is ‘poised’ and ‘confident’ in Jackets’ crease
Be it Korpisalo or Forsberg, the Jackets need somebody to step up and provide consistent backup goaltending. They don’t have Curtis McElhinney anymore, and they don’t want to wear down Bobrovsky before the playoffs even start.
When you experience unexpected success at the level the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 2016-17 season, people look for the other shoe to drop. Those types might be alerted to a relative slump for Columbus.
The Carolina Hurricanes scored twice in the third period to pull away from the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, handing Columbus a 5-3 loss. With that, the Blue Jackets have lost three out of their last four games after winning 16 games in a row (not to mention going undefeated in December).
Most will write that off as a blip on the radar. Especially with Sergei Bobrovsky needing to miss tonight’s game thanks to an illness.
The Blue Jackets showed some fight, too, tying the game back up twice (once when Carolina went up 2-1, the second time when the Hurricanes briefly build a 3-2 lead). The team notes that the possession stats came up mostly Columbus:
Jordan Staal and Victor Rask made the difference with goals in that final frame as Anton Forsberg gave up four tallies on just 27 shots (the 5-3 goal was an empty-netter).
The Blue Jackets began a three-game road trip in Carolina, with a back-to-back set in Florida (at Tampa Bay Friday, at the Panthers on Saturday). Overall, they’ll play seven of their next 10 games on the road. So, perhaps it’s a bumpy road ahead, but isn’t that also a great way to see just how “legit” these Blue Jackets really are?
Tonight in Carolina, Anton Forsberg will make his first start of the season for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Forsberg was recalled from the AHL yesterday after the Jackets waived veteran backup Curtis McElhinney, who today was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With the Jackets’ regular starter, Sergei Bobrosvky, under the weather, Forsberg will be backed up tonight by Joonas Korpisalo.
Forsberg, 24, is 12-6-1 with an impressive .930 save percentage this season in Cleveland. However, he’s struggled in nine career NHL appearances, going 1-7-0 with an .882 save percentage.
The Jackets’ next game after tonight’s is Friday in Tampa Bay. Columbus (28-7-4) is coming off a 2-1 OT victory over the Flyers on Sunday.
After going on a historic winning streak that fell just one game short of tying the NHL’s all-time record, the Columbus Blue Jackets were trying to avoid starting a different kind of streak.
A losing streak.
After dropping back-to-back games on Thursday and Saturday to the Capitals and Rangers respectively, the Blue Jackets were able to get back in the win column on Sunday night and avoid a third consecutive loss with a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers thanks to Nick Foligno‘s overtime goal (featured in the video above).
The win helps them maintain their three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division and for the best record in the NHL.
It was also not an easy win to get.
After holding a 1-0 lead deep into the third period, the Flyers sent the game to overtime when Brayden Schenn scored his 12th goal of the season with just 16 seconds to play in regulation. That set the stage for Foligno to pick up his 14th goal of the season.
The game also featured a couple of coach’s challenges, one that took away a potential Philadelphia goal early in the game, and another that ended up getting upheld.
Early in the first period the Flyers thought they scored to take a 1-0 lead thanks to an Andrew MacDonald goal. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella immediately called for the challenge and won it when the on-ice officials determined that Michael Raffl had interfered with Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Flyers tried to return the favor when David Savard scored midway through the second period to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead, only to have the officials determine that “the position of Columbus’ Josh Anderson did not by itself impact Mason’s ability to play his position in the crease.”
It had to end eventually.
Unfortunately for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, their franchise best winning streak ended at 16 games after a 5-0 loss to the Washington Capitals. It closes one win shy of matching the NHL record held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.
That’s quite a stretch of hockey for the Blue Jackets, who have played their way into first place in the Metropolitan Division. And the significance wasn’t lost on coach John Tortorella afterward.