3 Keys: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, Game 2 of Cup Qualifiers

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No. 9 Blue Jackets vs. No. 8 Maple Leafs

4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, FS-O

Columbus leads best-of-5 series, 1-0

The Columbus Blue Jackets look for their second straight shutout when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, on Tuesday.

Joonas Korpisalo is expected to play again after he made 28 saves for the Blue Jackets in his first NHL postseason start, a 2-0 win in Game 1. The Maple Leafs were third in the NHL in goals per game in the regular season (3.39).

Teams with a 2-0 lead are 55-1 (98.2 percent) winning a best-of-5 NHL series (39-1 when used from 1980-86). The New York Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals in a 1985 series. 

Here are 3 keys to Game 2:

 

1. Will Maple Leafs reunite top players?

The Maple Leafs, who were shut out once in 70 regular-season games, did not have a shot on goal in the final 6:12 of Game 1 on Sunday, even after coach Sheldon Keefe reunited Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Mitchell Marner on a line late in the third period.

“It’s something that I’ve looked at at different times throughout the game, and obviously anytime you do something like that, it has an impact on the rest of your lineup all the way through, and depth is important to us,” Keefe said after practice Monday. “So considering all things, I haven’t decided on anything firmly, but we’ll see how the game goes and make some decisions as we get moving.”

 

2. Matthews vs. Blue Jackets defense

Matthews led Maple Leafs skaters with 24:38 of ice time and six shots on goal but was matched against the Blue Jackets’ top defensemen pair for almost all of it. Seth Jones, who led the Blue Jackets with 26:54 of ice time and had seven hits, and Zach Werenski (25:20 of ice time) were relentless in their pursuit of Matthews, who scored 47 goals during the regular season. The two are expected to draw the assignment again in Game 2.

“[Jones] played awesome [Sunday] night, and I guess that’s just what we expect out of him nowadays,” Werenski said Monday.

Video: CBJ@TOR, Gm1: Korpisalo extends glove to rob Matthews

 

3. Discipline

Columbus killed the only power play it faced and will need to continue to avoid the penalty box in order to deny Toronto’s potent power-play (23.1 percent, tied for fifth during regular season) any opportunities. The Blue Jackets failed to score on each of their two power plays, and the Maple Leafs will need another strong defensive game in order to even the series.

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Nick FolignoAlexander WennbergCam Atkinson

Alexandre TexierPierre-Luc DuboisOliver Bjorkstrand

Gustav NyquistBoone JennerLiam Foudy

Eric RobinsonRiley NashEmil Bemstrom

Zach Werenski — Seth Jones

Vladislav GavrikovDavid Savard

Ryan MurrayDean Kukan

Joonas Korpisalo

Elvis Merzlikins

Scratched: Josh Anderson, Gabriel Carlsson, Adam Clendening, Nathan Gerbe, Scott Harrington, Matiss Kivlenieks, Stefan Matteau, Markus Nutivaara, Devin Shore, Kevin Stenlund

Unfit to play: None

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

William Nylander — Auston Matthews — Zach Hyman

Ilya Mikheyev — John Tavares — Mitchell Marner

Nicholas RobertsonAlexander KerfootKasperi Kapanen

Kyle CliffordPierre EngvallJason Spezza

Morgan RiellyCody Ceci

Jake MuzzinJustin Holl

Travis DermottTyson Barrie

Frederik Andersen

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Frederik Gauthier, Kasimir Kaskisuo, Denis Malgin, Martin Marincin, Nic Petan, Calle Rosen, Rasmus Sandin, Joseph Woll

Unfit to play: Andreas Johnsson, Timothy Liljegren

Status report

The Blue Jackets used the same lineup as Game 1 at practice Monday. … Engvall practiced on the fourth line and could replace Gauthier, although Keefe said he had not made any final decision on possible lineup changes. “We haven’t seen [Engvall] at his best throughout camp, and even in the little bit of opportunity we gave him in [the] exhibition,” Keefe said. “… When Pierre gets back in the lineup, we expect him to really push to stay in the lineup.”

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