Game Preview: Big Challenge Awaits Columbus Blue Jackets As They Take On The Toronto Maple Leafs

By Chris Pennington on November 19, 2018 at 7:48 am
Boone Jenner has nine points on the year through 20 games, and has been doing serious damage on a line with captain Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

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It's been a fun stretch for the Columbus Blue Jackets over the past two weeks, but you gotta win the big ones when they come around.

The Jackets head across the border tonight to face off with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the first of three meetings this season, and one of two this week. 

Both teams have been playing some of their best hockey lately - the Blue Jackets are riding a seven-game point streak and have won five of their last six, and the Leafs have won six of their last seven.

The most impressive part of the Leafs' success has been their doing so without superstar Auston Matthews who hasn't played since Oct. 27 with a shoulder injury. Matthews recorded 10 goals in his first six games.

Tonight should be a fun one and a true test for two teams who look to take charge of their respective divisions and lead the Eastern Conference.


PROJECTED LINES

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson

Foligno – Jenner – Anderson

Dubinsky – Wennberg – Duclair

Sedlak – Nash – Hannikainen

DEFENSEMEN

Murray – Jones

Nutivaara – Savard

Werenski – Carlsson

GOALTENDER

Bobrovsky

STORYLINES

  • The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs are both near the top of the NHL in points, with 26 and 28 respectively. A win for Toronto would move them potentially into first place in the league, and the Jackets would bump up to the top-three with a regulation victory.
  • We may have to wait until December to see the Auston Matthew - Artemi Panarin duel. For now, Jonathon Tavares versus Panarin will have to suffice. Tavares has shined brightly in Matthews' absence though, racking up 23 points in 20 games. Panarin hasn't scored in nine straight games, but still has 21 points and continues to make an impact for the Jackets' offense. Look for him to break that streak tonight.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky has been scalding hot for the Blue Jackets in net, allowing just one goal per game in four straight starts, boasting a .967 save percentage during that time and stopping 116 of 120 shots. Dear Lord.

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