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Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Maple Leafs

The battle for 29th.

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Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs

7:00PM - Air Canada Centre

TV: Sportsnet  Radio: TSN 1050

SBN: Jackets Cannon


Head to Head

Teams 28th in League 29th in League
Record 31-40-8 28-40-11
Conference 15th in East 16th in East
League 28th 29th
Hopes for the future Gloomy Optimistic
Top Scorer Boone Jenner (30) Leo Komarov (19)
Top Points Cam Atkinson (50) Nazem Kadri (45)
Goalie Joonas Korpisalo (2.65/.918) Jonathan Bernier (2.88/.907)
Last 10 3-7-0 4-6-0

Storylines

(1) Mike Babcock hates the salary cap.

On Tuesday, Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Andrew Walker asked Mike Babcock what he thought about potentially revamping the system to reward teams for winning down the stretch. Without getting into specifics on how he feels about the current draft lottery system, the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach weighed in on rewarding failure.

"The whole league is set up to help the bottom feeders," Babcock said. "We have a salary cap, do we not? So, if there was no salary cap, the Toronto Maple Leafs could go out and spend as much money as they wanted, could they not? And as long as you made the money you could spend it. Now, I like that. That’s my political background. That’s what I believe in in life, but that’s not the way the league is run. So let’s fix that first and then we can get into the draft." (source)

I am socialist enough to love the salary cap because it rewards intelligent GM decisions along with gameplay, but what do you guys think of this perspective on the cap?

(2) Colin Greening is surprisingly good

Leafs coach Mike Babcock has become a fan. Nylander has, too.

"Great, hard-working guy," Nylander said. "He gets the puck back. Great defensive guy. Big. Strong. Can shoot the puck, too. He’s a great player to have on your line."

Greening’s analytics – at least the ones publicly available – have reflected that. Since joining the Leafs, he has been a positive possession player at better than 53 per cent. He believes some of that success is because he is a good fit for Babcock’s no-nonsense, push-the-pace system. "Being really hard on the forecheck, that’s something I love to do," Greening said. "That goes with my assets." (source)

Now Greening is fighting for a spot in next year's lineup. Will he make it, given the Marlies hoping to rise, and Marner or A CERTAIN NEW GUY FROM THE DRAFT joining the Leafs?

(3) About drafting last.

A late surge could have derailed those plans somewhat, but the Leafs now appear to be relatively safe – guaranteed at minimum an 11.5 per cent chance of winning the No. 1 pick and at least a 34.2 per cent chance of landing one of the top three.

Should they fall to 29th, those numbers become 13.5 per cent and 39.1 per cent. If they’re dead last, it’s 20 per cent and 52.5 per cent.

The team most likely to usurp them for 30th overall is Edmonton, but Columbus still has an outside shot as well. It’s a difficult fact to ignore with the Leafs and Blue Jackets set to face one another in Toronto’s home finale and a loss arguably the best result for both. (source)

I hate tanking as much as Babcock, so I'm going to hope for a Leafs win tonight despite 29th on the line.

From the Game Notes

  • Jonathan Bernier owns a 4-2-0 record with a 2.08 goals against average and a .923 save percentage in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets.
  • Brad Boyes leads the Maple Leafs in career games played (36), career goals (12), career assists (16), career points (28) and career penalty minutes (28) versus Columbus. He has recorded two points (one goal, one assist) in two games against the Blue Jackets this season.
  • Morgan Rielly has collected three assists in two games against the Blue Jackets this season.
Todd Crocker @HockeyCrock
With @carrick_sam call up 24 @TorontoMarlies will have spent time with the @MapleLeafs and #Marlies this season. #TMLtalk

Leafs Lines

Tobias Lindberg - Tyler Bozak - P.A. Parenteau
Colin Greening - William Nylander - Kasperi Kapanen
Brooks Laich - Frederik Gauthier - Michael Grabner
Sam Carrick - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes -- [Rich Clune sent back down!]

Morgan Rielly - Martin Marincin
Jake Gardiner - Frank Corrado
Andrew Campbell - T.J. Brennan

Garret Sparks
Jonathan Bernier

Tort's Troops

Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad
Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Nick Foligno - Gregory Campbell - Josh Anderson

Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
Justin Falk - David Savard
Dean Kukan - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo