This is the sixth day off for the Columbus Blue Jackets. In an attempt to keep the Jackets at the forefront of Columbus’ mind an open-to-the-public practice will be held at Nationwide Arena today. It is also a way to simulate a game atmosphere for the players. #CBJSweepProbs.
But, the big question on everyone’s mind is who will the CBJ play in Round 2. Because TOR failed to close out BOS in Game 6 yesterday, all of Columbus waits two more days to find out that answer.
If it’s the…
Toronto Maple Leafs
3rd in the Atlantic Division with 100 points (46-28-8)
286 goals for, 251 goals against (+35)
1. Marner 94 points (26 goals, 68 assists)
2. John Tavares 88 points (47 goals, 41 assists)
3. Auston Matthews 73 points (37 goals, 36 assists)
4. Morgan Rielly 72 points (20 goals, 52 assists)
5. Kasperi Kapanen 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists)
6. Nazem Kadri 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists)
PP% 21.8% (8th in the NHL)
PK% 79.9% (17th in the NHL)
3.04 GAA (20th in the NHL)
3.49 GFA (4th in the NHL)
November 19, 2018 @TOR: TOR 4 CBJ 2
November 23, 2018 @CBJ: CBJ 4 TOR 2
December 28, 2018 @CBJ: TOR 4 CBJ 2
Bobrovsky played in all three matchups while Andersen played in both November games, but Sparks started the game in December. Those games were over four months ago and both teams had roster additions at the trade deadline, so comparing these teams based upon those games would be inaccurate. Markus Hannikainen scored for CBJ back on November 23 but has not skated with the Blue Jackets regularly since mid-February and only twice since the trade deadline.
Why it will be TOR
2013 is more for historical context of the rivalry and not relevant for current rosters. For TOR fans that last two minutes will live in infamy.
Bruins, Maple Leafs, first round, Game 7 happens for the second straight year. Despite heading into the 3rd period with a lead, TOR surrendered 4 goals in that final period.
To answer the question of why TOR will win:
· Revenge. These two teams don’t like each other. As you can see above, the last two meetings in the playoffs between these teams has resulted in a BOS Game 7 victory. There is added meaning in this win for TOR.
· Tavares was brought in during the off-season and Muzzin added around the deadline just for this very situation. JT however, only has 1 goal in the series (and 3 assists) and Muzzin is a -6 averaging 20+ minutes per game. Look for both to have a positive impact in Game 7.
· Since 1996 a Canadian based team has advanced past the first round every season with 3 notable exceptions: 2005 when there was a lockout, 2016 when no Canadian based team qualified and 2012 when LAKs were the 8 seed and upset President’s Trophy winning VAN. Nineteen out of the last 22 Stanley Cup playoffs saw a Canadian team advance.
If it is TOR
The Maple Leafs look a lot like Tampa, but with less impressive regular season numbers. They have top heavy scoring with Tavares (47 goals) and Matthews (37 goals) scoring a lot of goals and secondary scoring dropping of quickly (only 3 other players with 20+ goals). While Vasilevskiy (TBL) was a top 10 goalie in all categories, Frederik Andersen was 3rd in Wins (36), 17th in Sv% (.917), t-30th in GAA (2.77) and had 1 shutout on the season while playing 60 games.
It is rarely about how a team played over 82 games…
TORs record over the last 10 games of the regular season was 3-4-3. In their first-round matchup against BOS they have alternated wins taking every other game and sit at 3-3 in the series. For the last month they have been playing .500 hockey. But, they move on with one victory on Tuesday. And while it doesn’t matter if you sweep or play 7 games, it is all about winning that 4th game in a series. Then records go back to 0-0 in round two.
Is TOR the team that the CBJ will face in Round 2?
What would the outcome of a CBJ v. TOR series be?