I have a very simple question for the Columbus Blue Jackets:
Who are you? Who the f*** are you? Are you the good team that has been near the top of the league for most of the season? Or are you the team that quit on Monday night, suffering their second 7-2 loss in less than a week?
Tonight’s game will say a lot. The end result won’t matter as much as whether or not they show up. Can the defense maintain their assignments? Can the forwards win more puck battles? Can the passes be crisper? Can they create high danger chances, and second chance opportunities?
Unfortunately, tonight’s opponent will make this difficult. The Toronto Maple Leafs (fun fact: I got multiple tweets/emails from Toronto fans about me spelling it “Leaves” last season. It’s hilarious, and I was tempted to do it again here just to make them mad all over again) are a damn good team, even without star center Auston Matthews. You know that Carolina Hurricanes team that beat us on Saturday, and that we have a lot of difficulty creating offense against? You know, those Canes? Yeah, they lost 8-1 to Toronto yesterday afternoon.
Another complication: Zach Werenski is out tonight, and is considered day-to-day. Eep.
In Columbus’ favor: the slumping Sergei Bobrovsky will likely get a night off so he can face Pittsburgh tomorrow. Joonas Korpisalo has been solid lately, winning his last two starts. Meanwhile Frederik Andersen started yesterday so we can expect to see our old friend Curtis McElhinney in goal for Toronto. That’s a golden opportunity, especially for Oliver BJORKSTRAND:
I never get tired of watching this gif.
|Artemi Panarin||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Josh Anderson|
|Oliver BJORKSTRAND||Alexander Wennberg||Cam Atkinson|
|Sonny Milano||Boone Jenner||Nick Foligno|
|Matt Calvert||Lukas Sedlak||Markus Hannikainen|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Jack Johnson||Markus Nutivaara|
|Scott Harrington||David Savard|
|Leo Komarov||Nazem Kadri||Connor Brown|
|James Van Riemsdyk||Tyler Bozak||Mitch Marner|
|Patrick Marleau||William Nylander||Zach Hyman|
|Matthew Martin||Dominic Moore||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Ron Hainsey||Morgan Rielly|
|Jake Gardiner||Roman Polak|
|Andreas Borgman||Connor Carrick|