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Game 1 Preview: Blue Jackets begin quest for Stanley Cup in Toronto

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Here’s what you need to know

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Sunday, August 2, 2020 - 8:00 EST
Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, Ontario
TV: Fox Sports Ohio & NHL Network; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pension Plan Puppets

Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15, 81 points, 6th Metro, 9th East)

vs.

Toronto Maple Leafs (36-25-9, 81 points, 3rd Atlantic, 8th East)

This is it: after almost five months of waiting, the postseason has arrived for the Blue Jackets. It’s a fascinating clash of contrasting styles: Toronto with two lines stacked with highly-paid, high-scoring forwards vs. Columbus with a relentless defensive structure which prevents even the best teams from getting many high danger scoring chances.

Despite those contrasts, there are some similarities: these teams both survived many injuries, and ended up with the same record in the same number of games. They are two of the bottom three teams in penalty minutes, so hopefully these are games with few whistles. Both squads won their warm-up games in dominant fashion: Columbus 4-1 over Boston and Toronto 4-2 over Montreal.

The lines below have been the practice lines all week, so expect those 36 skaters to play. The lines for Columbus may shuffle in-game, as Torts is wont to do. As for the Jackets netminders, the starter has been named, but we won’t know until closer to gametime:

Rather than our usual team notes for this preview, here are the series previews from us and Pension Plan Puppets to get you up to speed before puck drop:

From The Cannon:

Q&A with Pension Plan Puppets
Columbus fans don’t view the Blue Jackets as Cup contenders
A guide for bandwagon CBJ fans
Goalie preview
Forward preview
Defense preview
Cannon Cast playoff preview episode

From Pension Plan Puppets:

Series predictions
Blue Jackets vs. Bruins recap
Profile of Jackets defense
Back to Excited podcast preview episode
How the Maple Leafs have done in best of five series
Breakdown of Jackets special teams
Profile of Jackets forwards
Blue Jackets: who scores, who defends
Goalie preview
Who are the Columbus Blue Jackets?
Breakdown of the Toronto lines and pairs
Further discussion of the third line, and rookie Nick Robertson’s place on it

Season Series

10/04/2019 TOR 4 @ CBJ 1
10/21/2019 CBJ 4 @ TOR 3 (OT)

Stats

Toronto Columbus
3.39 (3) GPG 2.57 (28)
3.17 (26) GAPG 2.61 (4)
23.1% (5) PP% 16.4% (27)
77.7% (21) PK% 81.7% (12)
52.0% (6) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 49.2% (19)
51.3% (9) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 50.9% (11)
8.6 (9) 5v5 Shot % 6.8 (28)
.912 (25) 5v5 Save % .928 (5)
Auston Matthews, 47 G Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 21
Mitch Marner, 51 A Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 31
Auston Matthews, 80 P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 49
Justin Holl, 43 PIM Leader Nick Foligno, 62
18-9-7 Home/Away 13-10-11
5-4-1 Last 10 3-4-3

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Alexandre Texier Pierre-Luc Dubois Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Gustav Nyquist Boone Jenner Liam Foudy
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Emil Bemstrom
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Ryan Murray Dean Kukan
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander Auston Matthews Zach Hyman
Ilya Mikheyev John Tavares Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson Alexaner Kerfoot Kasperi Kapanen
Kyle Clifford Frederik Gauthier Jason Spezza
Jake Muzzin Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly Cody Ceci
Travis Dermott Tyson Barrie
Frederik Andersen
Jack Campbell