Stanley Cup Qualifying Round – COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Qualifying Round Game 1 | Channel: SNet | 8:00 PM EST
Welcome Ladies and Gentleman and Leafs fans from around the world. The moment you have all been waiting for. Live from the sold-out (well, would be) Scotia Bank Centre in Toron-to Can-a-daaaaaaaaaaaaa. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s tiiiiiiiime for game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round between the Columbus Blue Jackets and your Toronto Maple Leafs. (Thank You Bruce Buffer)
If you really want to feel it you can listen to Bruce call it
The last Game Day Preview that we did was on March 10 for the Leafs game vs the Lightning. 145 days ago. 10 days shy of 5 months. It’s been a long road getting here for everyone. Thank you all for hanging tough and persevering through these challenging times. I am excited for Hockey, the Leafs to be back.
#Leafs will be the home team tonight and set up back in their own dressing room tonight, for whatever that’s worth.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 2, 2020
Keefe and Tavares didn’t seem to think much of it, though, advantage-wise.
The Match Up
Sheldon Keefe enters his first NHL style playoff round with the highly skilled, high flying Maple Leafs. Nobody questions the talent and ability of this team. Top-end skill for days and more than enough firepower to chase the best goalie’s from the game. The lingering question on this group is, do they have the will? The will to buy into the program, to do what it takes to win series upon series in pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup.
It’s a long challenging road to navigate. Multiple opponents on multiple nights with the best teams throwing something different at you every night to neutralize and overcome your strengths. What we have seen from this talented team is that when they are skating and scoring they are a very dangerous group. However, when that doesn’t happen they don’t seem to have something different to throw at their opponent. A fresh, best of 5 series seems to favour them in this regard if they come out flying. With the long layoff, the first few games look to be fast and loose which plays right into the Leafs wheelhouse particularly versus an offensively challenged Blue Jackets team.
Veteran NHL coach John Tortorella leads his Blue Jackets squad in their road to the playoffs. A demanding and detail-oriented coach, Tortorella will have his Jackets ready to take on the Leafs challenges and look to grind them down and wear them out on the defensive side of things. With a solid goaltending duo in Korpisalo and “Elvis” Merzlikins and a defensive group led by Jones and Werenski the Leafs will have their work cut out for them. Now, mentioned earlier was the Jackets being offensively challenged. That doesn’t mean they can’t score and one way that they are very effective is scoring off the cycle. This is a very weak spot for the Leafs and definitely plays to the Jackets favour.
I favour the Leafs as is my bias but it really is anyone’s series. A literal will vs skill matchup. Who you got?
The @MapleLeafs and @BlueJacketsNHL are squaring off in the postseason for the first time after splitting their two meetings during the 2019-20 regular season (TOR: 1-0-1, CBJ: 1-1-0).— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 2, 2020
Two teams, one winner – who will it be? #NHLStats #StanleyCup
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS PROJECTED LINE UP
11 Zach Hyman – 34 Auston Matthews – 88 William Nylnder
65 Ilya Mikheyev – 91 John Tavares – 16 Mitchell Marner
89 Nick Robertson – 15 Alexander Kerfoot – 24 Kasperi Kapanen
73 Kyle Clifford – 33 Frederik Gauthier – 19 Jason Spezza
8 Jake Muzzin – 3 Justin Holl
44 Morgan Rielly – 83 Cody Ceci
23 Travis Dermott – 94 Tyson Barrie
STARTER – 31 Frederik Andersen
36 Jack Campbell
Scratched: Johnsson, Rosen
TONIGHT’S MATCH UP FROM @MAPLELEAFS
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS PROJECTED LINE UP
71 Foligno – 10 Wennberg – 13 Atkinson
42 Texier – 18 Dubois – 28 Bjorkstrand
14 Nyquist – 38 Jenner – 19 Foudy
50 Robinson – 20 Nash – 52 Bemstrom
8 Werenski – 3 Jones
44 Gavrikov – 58 Savard
27 Murray – 46 Kukan
STARTER – 70 Korpisalo
90 Elvis Merzlikins
Scratched: Nutivaara, Gerbe
Big debut for Maple Leafs rookie Nick Robertson
Nicholas Robertson will make his NHL debut for the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Blue Jackets.— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) August 1, 2020
Robertson will become the first 18-year-old to play in the NHL postseason since Jarome Iginla with the Flames in 1996.https://t.co/E75YTZtfVf
Keefe: “Our third line was our best line in the exhibition game so that was a very positive sign for us. Kerfoot & Kapanen were excellent … & have been real good a lot of days in a row & Robertson brings a lot to that group too. I’m excited about that line …”— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) August 2, 2020
Tonights Game Prediction
We check in with James at @OffsideTalk for his Game Day Prediction
Ah it feels so good #PredictionSZN for the @MapleLeafs vs. @BlueJacketsNHL its starts tonight both teams looking to punch a ticket to the @NHL playoffs. Listen free Offside swag alert!! #HockeyTwitter #HockeyIsBack #Leafs #LeafsForever #Cbj @ShootwAuthority @Kyle_Outridge pic.twitter.com/mVHKamCcxI— OFFSIDE HOCKEY TALK (@OFFSIDETALK) August 2, 2020
What would a game day preview be without a little pump up music? Today’s title is perfectly named for our beloved Maple Leafs. This is a guitar cover of Green Day’s “Fire Ready Aim” by fellow Leafs Fan and excellent guitarist Taylor (TaylorMadeMusic on Youtube)
My prediction for tonights is game is: Leafs 4 CBJ 2
Scoring for the Leafs I have MickyHi5 with 1, Matthews with 1, Rielly with 1 and Willy with 1
Leave your Game 1 and Qualifying series predictions below in the comments.