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Game 3 Preview: It’s now or never for offense, Blue Jackets

Goaltending and defense have been there for Columbus, but offense must find a way now.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 8:00 EST
Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, Ontario
TV: Fox Sports Ohio & NBCSN; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pension Plan Puppets

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


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

This series has played out pretty predictability, in that the Blue Jackets goaltending and defense has been there to come up with the big stops to keep things close.

Game 1 saw Joonas Korpisalo come up big to record a 2-0 win, while Game 2 saw Frederik Andersen record a 3-0 win for the Maple Leafs. In Game 2, the Blue Jackets offense was nowhere in sight, and Toronto recorded 39 shots shots on net, getting big goals from its big stars including Auston Matthews and John Tavares.

While watching Game 2, it was a sight to see Korpisalo stand as tall, if not more so, than in Game 1, taking on more shots but still the same amount of high-def chances per Natural Stat Trick. Still, you knew it was a matter of time before Toronto would break through and now the pressure is on Columbus to find the offense of their own.

The series now a best-of-three, John Tortorella’s crew hopes to break through offensively, or risks getting elimination as early as Game 4 on Friday. Historically in all-time best-of-five series that are tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 goes onto win the Series 75% of the time.

Still on Toronto’s home ice, Columbus skates as the ‘home team’ meaning Leo Welsh (Leooo) for the anthem and more importantly, the Blue Jackets get last change to give Tortorella a chance at finding the matchups he likes.

Jake Muzzin left Tuesday’s game after an awkward collision on a stretcher after hitting his head on the back of Oliver Bjokstrand’s leg following a knockdown by Pierre-Luc Dubois resulting. The good news is Muzzin has been discharged from the hospital and is back at the team hotel. He will miss the remainder of the series and looks to rejoin the team following quarantine.

Playoff Series

08/02/20 Game 1: Columbus 2 @ Toronto 0
08/04/20 Game 2: Columbus 0 @ Toronto 3
08/06/20 Game 3: Toronto @ Columbus
08/07/20 Game 4: Toronto @ Columbus
08/09/20 Game 5: (if necessary) Columbus @ Toronto


Toronto Columbus
1.50 (20) GPG 1.00 (23)
1.00 (2) GAPG 1.50 (5)
0.0%% (20) PP% 0.0% (19)
100.0% (4) PK% 100.0% (2
54.4% (6) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 45.6% (21)
52.8% (9) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.2% (15)
3.9 (19) 5v5 Shot % 2.5 (21)
.975 (3) 5v5 Save % .962 (6)
Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly, 1 G Leader Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, 1
Thomas Dermott, Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, 1 A Leader Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, David Savard, 1
Auston Matthews, 2 P Leader Cam Atkinson, 2
Kasperi Kapanen, 14 PIM Leader Nick Foligno, Vladislav Gavrikov, 4
1-1 Home/Away 1-1
1-1 Last 10 1-1

Dean Kukan missed most of Game 2 after a hit by Kyle Clifford and it looks like John Tortorella is looking at some lines as an attempt to spark something. The way I look at it is you’re tied 1-1 in a now best-of-three, shoot your shot and use your skill. You might discover something that works and you can always blend the lines in-game.

But I think the below is looking good and better than having Nick Foligno on the first line.

Projected Lineups

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