Werenski, Korpisalo in for Blue Jackets in Game 5 against Maple Leafs


Zach Werenski will play, and goalie Joonas Korpisalo will start, for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-O).

Werenski left with 9:08 remaining in the third period of Game 4 on Friday, a 4-3 overtime loss after the Maple Leafs scored three goals in 3:34 of the third to rally from down 3-0.

As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

Werenski led NHL defensemen with 20 regular-season goals in 63 games and has one assist in the Qualifiers while playing 26:42 per game.

Korpisalo started the first three games of the best-of-5 series against Toronto and is 1-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. He shut out the Maple Leafs 2-0 in the series opener, but was pulled in Game 3 after 26:38 with the Blue Jackets trailing 3-0 and was replaced by Elvis Merzlikins, who did not allow a goal in the final 43:35 as they rallied for a 4-3 overtime win. Merzlikins started Game 4.

Coach John Tortorella told the Blue Jackets radio network that Merzlikins is injured. 

“[Korpisalo] had a great year before his injury (in March),” defenseman Seth Jones said. “He came and did some great things in this series for us. Whatever goalie is in the net we’re happy and we’re confident and comfortable with that. I know he’ll have a great game tonight.”

Defenseman Ryan Murray, who did not play in Game 4, will return to the lineup for the Blue Jackets on Sunday. He has zero points in three games in the series.

“Our defensive depth is a big part of our team and happy that they’re back in lineup,” Jones said about Werenski and Murray. “They’re big pieces offensively and defensively in all situations. They should play a key part in the win.”

The Blue Jackets-Maple Leafs winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the No. 7 seed from the Eastern Conference and face the Tampa Bay Lightning, the No. 2 seed, in the first round in Toronto, the Eastern hub city. The loser will have a 12.5 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday.

Senior writer Dan Rosen contributed to this report

Tweet from @BobbyMacSports: Here’s Torts pregame before a series-deciding Game 5 between the #CBJ & #LeafsForever https://t.co/72Rix4J72B

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