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Game #24 Preview: Blue Jackets at Maple Leafs

The Jackets look to improve their play outside of Nationwide Arena.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, Ontario
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Pension Plan Puppets

Columbus Blue Jackets (13-10-0, 26 points, 5th Metro, 9th East)

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Toronto Maple Leafs (17-7-2, 36 points, 2nd Atlantic, 3rd East)

Last time these two teams met, the Jackets defeated the Maple Leafs 3-0 in a best of five play-in series in the 2020 bubble. In that matchup, it was defensively stingy Columbus against the dynamic offense of Toronto. Since then, the Leafs have drastically improved play in their own zone. They’ve also been helped by fantastic goaltending. They currently sit third in the league in goals against and save percentage.

The Blue Jackets snapped their losing streak against the Sharks at home on Sunday, but now they travel to Toronto for a road game. The Jackets have struggled while away from Nationwide Arena. At home, they are 5th in the league in goals for. On the road, they are 22nd. They also average giving up an additional 1.42 goals per game on the road. For a shot at two points tonight, they’ll need to clean up play in their own zone.

Player to Watch

Adam Boqvist

The young Swede potted another two goals against the Sharks. He’s 5-3-8 in his last 7 games and seems to be getting more comfortable in that Blue Jackets sweater. Who are the only NHL defensemen with more goals this season? Makar, Ekblad, and Josi. He leads all Columbus defensemen in CF% at 5v5 and leads the regulars in xGF% and HDCF%. Here’s your reminder that he’s only 21 years old and has plenty of room to grow.

Blue Jackets Notes

It feels like Brad Larsen is at a crossroads when it comes to bottom six lineup decisions. He sat Yegor Chinakhov in favor of two rookies in their late twenties. Meanwhile, Emil Bemstrom, who scored four goals in five preseason games and had an all around good training camp, is currently in Cleveland after recovering from an injury. Bemstrom is also one of the better defensive forwards in the organization and could contribute to a team struggling in that regard. There may be a case for leaving Bemstrom in Cleveland, especially with Danforth playing well, but it’s hard to justify leaving Hofmann in over Chinakhov.

Maples Leafs Notes

Mitch Marner missed the last two games after a collision at practice last Friday. The star winger had recorded 20 points in his last 17 games. As of the writing of this article, his status against the Jackets is unknown, but he hasn’t skated since the incident.

Jason Spezza will likely be unavailable after kneeing Neal Pionk in the head in Winnipeg Sunday night. He has a hearing with NHL Player Safety this afternoon.

Season Series

12/7/21 - CBJ @ TOR
12/27/21 - TOR @ CBJ
3/7/22 - TOR @ CBJ

Stats

Toronto Columbus
3.08 (13) GPG 3.22 (11)
2.35 (3) GAPG 3.26 (25)
25.7% (5) PP% 20.0% (11)
82.4% (15) PK% 84.1% (8)
52.7% (5) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.7% (25)
51.4% (10) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.2% (25)
7.5% (21) 5v5 Shooting % 8.7% (7)
.935 (3) 5v5 Save % .909 (29)
Auston Matthews, 15 G Leader Boone Jenner, 11
Tavares & Marner, 15 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 18
John Tavares, 26 P Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 19
Wayne Simmonds, 38 PIM Leader Kuraly & Sillinger, 17
10-3-1 Home / Road 4-7-0
7-2-1 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Max Domi Boone Jenner Jakub Voracek
Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Oliver Bjorkstrand
Gregory Hofmann Cole Sillinger Justin Danforth
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Alexandre Texier
Zach Werenski Jake Bean
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Gabriel Carlsson Adam Boqvist
Elvis Merzlikins
Daniil Tarasov
Toronto Maple Leafs
Michael Bunting Auston Matthews Jason Spezza
Alexander Kerfoot John Tavares William Nylander
Nick Ritchie David Kampf Ondrej Kase
Kyle Clifford Pierre Engvall Wayne Simmonds/td>
TJ Brodie Morgan Rielly
Timothy Liljegren Jake Muzzin
Justin Holl Rasmus Sandin
Jack Campbell
Joseph Woll