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Preview: Columbus rolls into town on the wrong end of a back-to-back

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Columbus chewed up the Islanders yesterday, but the Isles have no defence to speak of.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets: Game #59

Time: 7:00 PM

Location: Not on Carlton Street.

Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet, TVAS, NHLN-US, FS-O

Opponent SBNation Site: Jackets Cannon

The Blue Jackets are coming in tired off after they rolled through the paper-thin defence of the Islanders and beat them 4-1 last night. Columbus played Jack Adams award winner Sergei Bobrovsky, and they might just do that again, although for some reason the Leafs never play Joonas Korpisalo very well.

Meanwhile the Columbus defence has two guys on it who are sublime, two I’ve never heard of, and I’ve heard of a lot of hockey players, and Jack Johnson, who wants a trade. Oh, and Markus Nutivaara, who was a really good find by them.

And up front, Columbus has a group of forwards who look okay on balance, but they have scored 41 fewer goals than the Leafs so far. That’s rather a lot. But they’ve allowed, with their spiffy top pair D and their savant goalie, six fewer goals than the leaky Leafs. I mean, you can’t make the playoffs doing that.

And they are out of a playoff spot at the moment, but not by far. The Metro is a tangle of evenly matched teams, and so, the Blue Jackets really, really need to win every game they can, and scrape for every point.

I propose that the Leafs stop them from doing that.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The usual brew, as of yesterday’s practice.

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Leo Komarov - Dominic Moore - Kasperi Kapanen

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Columbus Blue Jackets

From the most recent game by ice time at leftwing lock

Forward Lines

Nick Foligno - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner- Brandon Dubinsky - Josh Anderson
Jussi Jokinen - Lukas Sedlak - Matt Calvert

Defence Pairings

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - Markus Nutivaara
Dean Kukan - David Savard

Goaltenders

Sergei Bobrovsky - assumed starter even though he played yesterday
Joonas Korpisalo


The Leafs are playing their same old setup from the Tampa game. Nothing has really changed for the Leafs all season, they live and die by the forward power, and it’s been firing on all cylinders lately.

Tonight, the Leafs should have a distinct fourth line speed advantage, and the interesting matchup might come against the Columbus Bozak-esque line of Dubois, Panarin and Atkinson who are dangerous near the net. They have amazing Corsi numbers, so amazing you might expect they get very careful usage, and you’d be right. If anyone should know how to exploit a weakness like that, it’s the Leafs.

Game on, everyone. Score early, score often, and keep the streak going.