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Toronto Maple Leafs game preview: Off to Columbus

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After winning their birthday game 8-1 over the Hurricanes, the Leafs set off to face the Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets  v Maple Leafs
You all love Domi so much here’s a picture of him
Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Yesterday afternoon the Maple Leafs were at a highest high, celebrating their 100th anniversary with the NHL, scoring 4 goals in the first period, then 4 more in the third. An 8-1 victory to kill a losing streak that saw them score just 3 goals in 3 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Columbus Bluejackets
7:30PM - Nationwide Arena, Columbus
TV: Sportsnet, TVA Sports, Fox Sports - Ohio
Radio: Sportsnet590
SBN: Jackets Cannon

The last time the Maple Leafs were in Columbus was back in March, When the Leafs defeated the Blue Jackets 5-2 at Nationwide Arena. Auston Matthews inched one goal closer to the Maple Leafs rookie record of 34 goals with his 33rd of the season. Nazem Kadri scored his 30th of the season, and Brandon Saad scored one of his last goals as a member of the Blue Jackets.

The teams are mostly the same, nine months later, with Saad now back with the Blackhawks. The Maple Leafs will be starting former Blue Jackets back-up Curtis McElhinney tonight.

The Blue Jackets are in a back-to-back like the Leafs; however, this is their first game, with game two coming tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The prevailing theory is that you play your starter in the game you can more easily win in a back to back, so tonight it may be Sergei Bobrovsky in the home net.

Here are how the lines look right now:

Maple Leafs

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
Patrick Marleau - William Nylander - Zach Hyman
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner
Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak

Curtis McElhinney
Frederik Andersen

Blue Jackets

Sonny Milano - Boone Jenner - Nick Foligno
Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Josh Anderson
Cam Atkinson - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Matt Calvert - Lukas Sedlak - Markus Hannikainen

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - Markus Nutivaara
Scott Harrington - David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Last night the JVR - Bozak - Marner line was amazing and accounted for half the points on the board. If that line can stay hot and stick around a while, things will go well for the Leafs.

Connor Carrick played very well last night, but with it being a back-to-back Martin Marincin may get his first taste of NHL action this year. Kasperi Kapanen got in to last night’s game, but he may be, like Carrick, swapped out for Josh Leivo.

Numbers Preview

Maple Leafs Team Devils
Maple Leafs Team Devils
265GF - 226GA - +29 Goal Differential 238GF - 234GA - +4
24.4% - 2nd overall Power Play 21.7 - 10th overall
81.3% - 12th overall Penalty Kill 81.9% - 7th overall
James van Riemsdyk - 36 Most Goals Taylor Hall - 39
Mitch Marner - 47 Most Assists Taylor Hall - 54
Mitch Marner - 69 Most Points Taylor Hall - 93
Matt Martin - 50 Most PM Miles Wood - 84
Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G TOI Leader Sami Vatanen - 22:42
Frederik Andersen - .917sv% Starting Goalie Keith Kincaid - .911sv%

The Maple Leafs are 2-3 so far this season in the second game of back to backs. Two of those losses came from spending the game on the road, the other was a home game after a road game. The Leafs had an extra five hours of rest last night, since the game ended just before 5PM rather than 10PM. Hopefully that makes all the difference in the world.

And if not, well, we’ll just have to play the next first game of a back to back at 1PM.