COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo had lost three straight starts since his last victory on Jan. 18. He found out Tuesday morning he would be playing in place of a sick Sergei Bobrovsky against the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights, and he turned in a gem.
The 23-year-old Finn stopped 37 shots, and the Blue Jackets beat Vegas 4-1 and hung on to the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
“The team likes playing in front of him,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “There have been a few struggles here and there, but he was solid right from the get-go tonight.”
Korpisalo got some offensive help in a tight-checking game that reflected the urgency for the Blue Jackets, who are battling Florida and Carolina — both of which lost Tuesday — for the final wild card.
Artemi Panarin and Pierre Luc-Dubois each had a goal and two assists, and Zach Werenski and Ian Cole also scored for the Blue Jackets, winners of two straight and four of their last six.
“A lot of times this year, I think, (Korpisalo) went in and he was playing well but we weren’t playing our best hockey,” Dubois said. “For him to play so good tonight and to get that win, I know everybody in here is happy for him.”
Marc-Andre Fleury — a Blue Jacket-killer in the playoffs last year for Pittsburgh — had 17 saves for the Golden Knights.
Predators 2, Stars 0: NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pekka Rinne stopped 26 shots and Ryan Hartman scored at 5:33 of the third period to help Nashville to a franchise-record ninth straight victory.
Bruins 6, Red Wings 5: BOSTON — Brad Marchand completed his hat trick 34 seconds into overtime as Boston escaped with a win after twice squandering a two-goal lead in regulation.
Wild 6, Hurricanes 2: ST. PAUL, Minn. — Eric Staal’s second goal of the night capped a franchise-record flurry to start the second period as Minnesota cruised.
Rangers 3, Jets 0: NEW YORK — Patrik Laine got his fourth hat trick and set a career high with his 38th goal to lift Winnipeg.
Devils 6, Canadiens 4: NEWARK, N.J. — Taylor Hall extended his point-scoring streak to 19 games and Travis Zajac scored two power-play goals as New Jersey snapped a three-game skid.
Lightning 5, Panthers 4: TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point scored 2:49 into overtime to give Tampa Bay the victory.
Blackhawks 2, Avalanche 1: CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews scored nine seconds into overtime and had an assist in regulation to lead Chicago.
Ducks 4, Capitals 0: ANAHEIM, Calif. — John Gibson made 36 saves for his 14th career shutout and Rickard Rakell scored for the fourth straight game to lift Anaheim.