Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus Blue Jackets - stats & writer's commentary

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Toronto

36-25-9

PP% 22.84 (6th) | 3.40 GF/G (3rd)

PK% 77.84 (21st) | 3.24 GA/G (5th)

Goalies:

Freddie Andersen 29-13-7, .909, 2.85

Jack Campbell (TOT): 11-12-3, .904, 2.80

Key Players:

Auston Matthews: 80 points

Mitch Marner: 67 points




Columbus

33-22-15

PP% 16.40 (27th) | 2.57 GF/G (29th)

PK% 81.66 (12th) | 2.67 GA/G (29th)

Goalies:

Joonas Korpisalo 19-12-5, .911, 2.60

Elvis Merzlikins 13-9-8, .923, 2.35

Key Players:

Seth Jones: 30 points

Zach Werenski: 41 points





Learn from the past:

If history has taught us anything, don’t sleep on Columbus - They have proved to be a tough team last year.

If captain Nick Foligno decides to play (since he’s one of the players who’s been openly opposed to hockey resuming) and if most of the roster is back at 100% (including star defenseman Seth Jones), they could do it again.



Notes for TOR:

- Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews need to stay consistent.

- Freddie Anderson needs to be on his best game.

- Tyson Barrie needs to play like how he was towards the end of his time with COL and setting up more plays (He will most likely go to another team this year as free agency approaches).

- Toronto’s best game is better than Columbus’ best game – if they can find a way to regroup and never give the jackets a chance to come back, they will have them.

- Nylander needs to not make any embarrassing misplays or give himself any reason to fall under the label of the scapegoat again.



Notes for CBJ:

- If Seth Jones is in the lineup, he will give Toronto’s top scorers a hard time.

- Zach Werenski has upped his offensive play in the blue line as well as his defensive play – he’s become more well-rounded.

- Most players need to recover from their injuries in order to have a fair, fighting chance.

- Both goalies need to stay tough and not give the Leafs any chance to keep a lead in the series.

- If players continue to get injured or are more hesitant to be aggressive, that can hurt their chances.



Conclusion:

This one is tricky. Both teams struggled this past season, but for different reasons: Toronto has not been too consistent, and Columbus had a laundry list of injuries.

Toronto looks like the better team but they cannot sleep on the Blue Jackets or be inconsistent. Columbus is a tenacious team – they thrive off being labeled as the underdog. I believe if most of their guys are healed and ready to go by August, it will be a close one.




Prediction


Columbus in 5


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