Game 77 Preview: It'd be a real shame...

Jackets at Leaves

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 7:00 PM EST
Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, Ontario
TV: Bally Sports Ohio - Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent's Blog - Pension Plan Puppets

Columbus Blue Jackets (24-44-8, 56 points, 8th Metropolitan, 16th East)
Toronto Maple Leaves (45-21-10, 100 points, 2nd Atlantic, 5th East)

On Sunday, the Jackets pulled off what, in normal circumstances, would be an exciting, come-from-behind, character building win. The top-five pick snipes on the powerplay, the captain ties it late, the rookie phenom wins it in overtime.

These are not normal circumstances.

Long since out of the playoff race, the Jackets are now in a game of chicken with the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Chicago Blackhawks, racing to the bottom like snowballs down a mountain in an Avalanche (no, not Colorado. They're quite good). The most important date remaining on the Jackets' schedule is May 8th, when the NHL will conduct its next draft lottery to decide which team will pick the next Connor McDavid, and which team will take the next still-pretty-dang-good-center-who-isn't-quite Connor McDavid. Worst comes to worst, you get another solid center prospect as consolation. As such, the exciting, come-from-behind, character building win was met with weeping and gnashing of teeth from much of the fanbase. It'd be a real shame if that were to continue tonight.

Player to Watch - William Nylander
When you think of the Toronto Maple Leaves, most people think of Auston Matthews, then Mitch Marner, then John Tavares. William Nylander is typically the borderline-afterthought in Toronto's "Big Four," but he's challenging that this season with an excellent season. He's tied for the team lead in goals at 37, and second in assists and points at 45 and 82, respectively. You can make a convincing argument that he's been their second best player this year. It'd be a real shame if that were to continue tonight.

Jackets Notes
Fun fact: This is the last game versus a Canadian team the Blue Jackets have this season. I'm not sure if anyone cares about that fun fact, but there it is for ya. ... As punishment for his 24-save performance, Jon Gilles was reassigned to Cleveland, while Jet Greaves was recalled from the Monsters in his place. ... Place your bets down below on who gets injured in practice or morning skate. The Jackets have lost like 4 million games to injuries this season, and aren't able to ice a lineup that qualifies for the preseason veteran minimum. It'd be a real shame if that were to continue tonight. (I mean, barring a miracle, it's going to. Almost everyone injured right now is done for the year).

The Other Bench
Toronto is officially locked into a rematch versus the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs, but home ice is still up for grabs. They have a solid four-point lead, and a game in hand, but that lead is under threat after a 5-3-2 "skid." It'd be a real shame if that skid were to continue tonight.

Season Series
2/10/23 - TML 3 at CBJ 0
2/11/23 - CBJ 4 at TML 3
4/4/23 - Columbus at Toronto


3.38 (9th)Goals per Game2.66 (30th)
2.75 (7th)Goals Against per Game3.97 (31st)
25.7% (2nd)Power Play %18.8% (25th)
80.5% (14th)Penalty Kill %75.8% (22nd)
51.0% (15th)5v5 Shot Attempt % (Corsi)45.1 (29th)
51.8% (8th)5v5 Unblocked
Shot Attempt % (Fenwick)
44.8 (29th)
9.1% (9th)5v5 Shooting %7.8% (27th)
.922 (7th)5v5 Save %.901 (30th)
A. Matthews and W. Nylander, 37 eachGoals LeaderCaptain Boone Jenner, 26
Mitch Marner, 67Assists LeaderJohnny Gaudreau, 52
Mitch Marner, 95Points LeaderJohnny Gaudreau, 71
Michael Bunting, 92Penalty Minutes LeaderManiac Mathieu Olivier, 81
25-8-6Home/Road Record9-23-6
5-3-2Last 10 Games Record3-6-1

Projected Lineups
Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny GaudreauCaptain Boone JennerKirill Marchenko
Liam FoudyKent JohnsonHunter McKown
Eric RobinsonSean KuralyEmil Bemstrom
Joona LuotoJosh DunneJustin Richards
Tim BerniAndrew Peeke
Gavin BayreutherBilly Sweezy
Jake ChristiansenMarcus Bjork
Michael Hutchinson
Jet Greaves

Toronto Maple Leaves

Michael BuntingAuston MatthewsCalle Jarnkrok
Alex KerfootJohn TavaresWilliam Nylander
Zach Aston-ReeseDavid KampfSam Lafferty
Nick AbruzzeseRadim ZohornaWayne Simmonds
Morgan RiellyLuke Schenn
TJ BrodieJustin Holl
Connor TimminsTimothy Liljegren
Ilya Samsonov
Matt Murray

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