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Game #38 Preview: John Tavares Leads Maple Leafs into Columbus to Face Streaking Jackets

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Here’s what you need to know.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Columbus Blue Jackets Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs at Columbus Blue Jackets
Friday, December 28, 2018 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pension Plan Puppets

Toronto Maple Leafs, 25-10-2, 52 points, 2nd Atlantic, 2nd East
@
Columbus Blue Jackets, 22-12-3, 47 points, 2nd Metro, 4th East

After falling behind in the third period of their matchup with the New York Rangers on Thursday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied to forced overtime thanks to a slapper from Zach Werenski before Pierre-Luc Dubois delivered the winner in overtime. The Jackets registered their season-long fifth straight win and extended their points streak to seven straight games.

As a reward for their big win, which saw the Jackets go 4-0-0 in four straight divisional games, the Jackets went home to face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs did not play on Thursday and are rested for Friday’s matchup. The Jackets, hot as of late, would look to place their winning streak on the line against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference (in their final matchup with the Leafs in the regular season).

Player to Watch

William Nylander

For the first time this season, and the last time in the regular season, the Blue Jackets will face a Toronto Maple Leafs lineup with William Nylander present. Nylander held out until the eleventh hour on December first to get what he felt he was owed, and it ended with him signing a six year contract with a $6.96 million cap hit per year. Since his return, Nylander has played nine games and has just 0-2-2 in those games while playing just under 16 minutes per night. Nylander, playing alongside Auston Matthews, is a proven goal scorer who will get his touch back eventually. With no shortage of threats in the Leafs lineup, the Jackets cannot afford to let Nylander fall off the radar.

Jackets Notes

Cam Atkinson has scored in both matchups with the Leafs this season ... Sergei Bobrovsky was named the first star of the week last week, beating Leafs defenseman Morgan Reilly for the honor ... Columbus is 3-7 in their last ten Friday games ... Columbus is 1-4 in their last five games playing with zero days rest ... Oliver Bjorkstrand has a two game goal scoring streak ... Columbus is 11-0 on Thursdays this season ... Columbus has points in seven straight games

The Other Bench

Auston Matthews was named the captain of the Atlantic Division all star team ... he joins fellow captains Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, and Nathan MacKinnon ... Matthews, despite missing time with an injury, has 19-15-34 in 23 games ... Morgan Reilly leads all defensemen in the NHL with 13 goals and 44 points ... This is Toronto’s first game after the Christmas break, last playing in a 5-4 come from behind overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings

Season Series

11/19/2018 CBJ 2 @ TOR 4
11/23/2018 TOR 2 @ CBJ 4
12/28/2018 TOR @ CBJ

Stats

Toronto Columbus
3.78 (2) GPG 3.25 (10)
2.78 (10) GAPG 3.00 (17)
23.8% (7) PP% 13.8% (28)
79.6% (17) PK% 80.6% (13)
50.46% (11) EV Corsi % 49.20% (20)
1.040 (1) EV PDO 1.010 (8)
John Tavares, 24 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 23
Mitchell Marner, 38 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 28
Mitchell Marner, 50 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 39
Zach Hyman, 42 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 40
13-5-1 Home / Road 10-7-2
6-2-2 Last 10 6-3-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Oliver Bjorkstrand Alexander Wennberg Lukas Sedlak
Markus Hannikainen Brandon Dubinsky Riley Nash
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Zach Werenski Markus Nutivaara
Scott Harrington David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

Toronto Maple Leafs

Andreas Johnsson John Tavares Mitchell Marner
Kasperi Kapanen Auston Matthews William Nylander
Patrick Marleau Nazem Kadri Connor Brown
Par Lindholm Frederik Gauthier Trevor Moore
Morgan Reilly Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott Justin Holl
Frederik Anderson
Garret Sparks