NHL PREVIEWS |

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Preview and Predictions 10-21-2019


The Toronto Maple Leafs made a big statement in their last contest and look to build off that performance when they host the hard-working Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. The Maple Leafs, who are without captain John Tavares (broken finger), grinded out a 4-3 overtime victory over Atlantic Division-rival Boston on Saturday despite allowing 46 shots and coughing up two leads.

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"Yeah, it's big," Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly told reporters after scoring the winning goal on Saturday. "A team within the division, not having (Tavares). Kind of a point in our year where we want to get going, and I think we answered the bell. Not as clean as we wanted, but we got it done." The Maple Leafs have won three of their last four overall and four of the last five meetings with the Blue Jackets, who have earned points in four consecutive games (2-0-2) after suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders at home on Saturday. Columbus coach John Tortorella told reporters his team has worked very hard all season long, despite the loss of leading scorer Artemi Panarin and two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky to free agency, and is in the midst of six straight games decided by one goal - three in overtime. "We have to start finishing," Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones told reporters. "Moral victories, so to speak, with just creating chances and losing tight games isn't going to cut it, it isn't going to get you into the playoffs. So we have to start bearing down here on some of these chances, and it will come."

TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Columbus), Sportsnet (Toronto)

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (3-3-2): Cam Atkinson, who scored a career-high 41 goals last season, has recorded two in the first seven games but registered seven shots in Saturday's loss and has unleashed a team-high 36 this campaign. Jones and Boone Jenner each scored their first goal of the season last time out while Pierre-Luc Dubois leads the team with three tallies - all in his last five contests. Dean Kukan made his second appearance of the season Saturday in place of fellow defenseman Ryan Murray (two assists), who is questionable for Monday due to an upper-body injury.

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (5-3-1): Coach Mike Babcock will tinker with his forward lines with Tavares out and had Auston Matthews (nine points) alongside Mitch Marner (11) at times in Saturday's victory, with the duo combining for three assists. "I'm tempted to have the best lineup we can, and if that's them together, then I'd do that," Babcock told reporters. "I don't know what's going to happen. I can't predict that." Andreas Johnsson (five points) suffered a leg injury while blocking a shot in Saturday's game, but Babcock said afterward that X-rays were negative and he should "be fine."

OVERTIME

1. Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen has won three straight decisions and is 6-2-2 with a .921 save percentage versus Columbus in his career.

2. Blue Jackets LW Markus Hannikainen, who has yet to play this season, was assigned to Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

3. Toronto entered Sunday seventh in the league on the power play (7-for-26) while Columbus was 24th (3-for-23).

Prediction

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Stadium

Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Ontario, CAN.
Capacity: 18,819

Last Injuries

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Ilya Mikheyev

    Wrist
    day-to-day | I-R

    Mikheyev is on injured reserve after having surgery to repair an artery and tendons in his right wrist. He is likely to be activated against the Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round.

  • Andreas Johnsson

    Knee
    out for season | I-R

    Johnsson has been designated for the injured reserve list after having knee surgery, and he will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Alexandre Texier

    Back
    day-to-day | I-R

    Texier is recuperating from a lumbar stress fracture while on the injured reserve list. It is likely that he will be activated prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Maple Leafs.

  • Dean Kukan

    Knee
    day-to-day | I-R

    Kukan has landed on injured reserve with a medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury in his left knee. He is projected to be activated prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round against the Maple Leafs.

  • Seth Jones

    Ankle
    day-to-day | I-R

    Jones has been placed on the injured reserve list due to ankle surgery. He is expected to be activated for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Maple Leafs.

  • Josh Anderson

    Shoulder
    Mid Aug | I-R

    Anderson has been sent to the injured reserve list after undergoing surgery to repair a labral tear in his left shoulder. He is lining up to return to the fold sometime in August.

  • Brandon Dubinsky

    Wrist
    out for season | I-R

    Dubinsky is on the injured reserve list due to a chronic wrist condition. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

  • Nathan Gerbe

    Groin
    day-to-day | probable

    Gerbe is recovering from a groin strain and is expected to return in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Maple Leafs.

  • Oliver Bjorkstrand

    Lower Body
    day-to-day | questionable

    Bjorkstrand is sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a sprain and hairline fracture of his ankle. It is up in the air if he will return in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Maple Leafs.