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Blue Jackets trample Leafs 6-0

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are a tough team to figure out by their morning skates.

They had good workouts in Edmonton and Vancouver on their five-game road trip and lost 7-0 and 6-2, respectively.

They had a poor morning skate Monday but went out to dominate the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-0, led by two goals and an assist from center Ryan Johansen.

"It's tough to figure out the group," coach Todd Richards said. "The Edmonton game and the game in Vancouver, it was one of our better morning skates and I thought the energy was good, and we know the results we got. This morning's skate was not very good, we were sloppy, unenergetic, and we come out and play this game."

Right winger Cam Atkinson and center R.J. Umberger scored 20 seconds apart in the first period to give Columbus a quick start. Right winger Jack Skille and defenseman Ryan Murray also scored for the Blue Jackets (9-12-3).

"For us, we just couldn't find the pace of the game at all," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "It was like we were playing in boots and they were playing on skates."

Center Mark Letestu, left winger Nick Foligno and defenseman James Wisniewski each added two assists for the Blue Jackets, who completed a 3-2 road trip.

Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 18 shots for his first shutout of the season in his 20th game.

"Obviously they took away a lot of shots, and so I did not work much," Bobrovsky said. "It was great to find a way to win this game. I tried to keep focused on the game (and not think of shutout)."

Toronto goalie James Reimer allowed six goals on 21 shots before being replaced by Jonathan Bernier in the third period. The Maple Leafs (14-9-1) finished a four-game homestand at 2-2.

"The first two were kind of bad bounces or weird plays, and then the rest were good plays, good shots," Reimer said. "I don't really have much to say. Don't really have much to offer. It just wasn't my night tonight."

Johansen scored his first goal of the game on a pass from Foligno to complete a two-on-one break at 9:05 of the third. That bumped the lead to five goals.

Reimer was replaced after Johansen scored his second of the game and eighth of the season on a power play at 11:24 of the third period.

"We just wanted to play that simple game, that boring hockey," Johansen said. "We really feel we bored their team."

Richards said, "We limited their opportunities. I thought our forwards did a good job of getting in the shooting lanes and forcing their shots wide. Our defense really competed in front of our net, boxing out, where (Bobrovsky) could see the puck, and we were opportunistic in the offensive zone."

The Blue Jackets took a two-goal lead out of the first period and increased it to 4-0 by 6:25 of the second period.

Skille scored his first goal of the season at 3:07 of the second off a pass from Letestu at the end of a two-on-one break.

"We made sure we all worked together as a five-man unit every shift and stuck to a system," Skille said. "We made sure we played simple road hockey. That was the key tonight."

Columbus took advantage of a power play when Murray scored his third goal of the season from the slot on a pass from Johansen to make it 4-0. It followed a giveaway by Toronto defenseman Carl Gunnarsson while Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner was off for hooking.

"We just didn't do enough to get pucks to the net," Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "We talk about outworking teams, and tonight we got outworked."

The Blue Jackets scored at 10:18 and 10:38 of the first period.

Left winger Matt Calvert passed the puck across the goal to Atkinson, who was perched near the left post and had an easy shot for his sixth goal of the season.

Murray helped set up the second goal, circling behind the Leafs goal and taking a short shot from the right side of the net that Reimer stopped. After some scrambling in front of the goal, Umberger scored his sixth of the season.

NOTES: Leafs C Tyler Bozak (hamstring) returned to the lineup for the first time since he was injured Oct. 25 in a 5-2 loss at Columbus. He missed 12 games. Bozak's return meant that C Peter Holland sat out the game. ... Blue Jackets C Derek MacKenzie (back spasms) and RW Jared Boll (bruised left foot) did not play. ... D James Wisniewski, who missed Friday's game due to a virus, and D Dalton Prout who had not played since Nov. 12 because of a back strain and food poisoning, returned to the Blue Jackets' lineup. ... The Leafs, who ended a four-game homestand Monday, open a three-game trip Wednesday when they visit Pittsburgh to play the Penguins. ... The Blue Jackets, who finished a five-game trip Monday, return home to face the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.
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