Just about everything went the Columbus Blue Jackets' way on Sunday.
Just about everything went the Toronto Maple Leafs' way on Tuesday.
|CBJ 1, TOR 1 • QUALIFIER SERIES|
|TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS|
36–25–9 // 81 points
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
8 P.M. – THURSDAY, AUGUST 6
FOX SPORTS OHIO, NBCSN
FOX SPORTS GO
All involved were treated to a lesson just how much can change within days in the postseason. One day, the Blue Jackets pull off a 2-0 shutout victory, and 48 hours later they're on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat.
The two teams will meet up for a pivotal Game 3 on Thursday night, with the puck set to drop at 8 p.m. at a fan-free Scotiabank Arena. With this being a five-game series, the winner will suddenly find itself a sole victory away from advancing to the playoffs.
Count captain Nick Foligno among those who see a path to retribution.
“I think it's pretty simple,” Nick Foligno said on Tuesday. “I don't think it's rocket science how we need to play in order to have success. I think we saw that last game where it's just our effort and our energy level wasn't where it needed to be, and it's the reason why we didn't have the result that we wanted. We shore that up and I think we have a better result, and I think we're excited about that opportunity coming tomorrow.”
It's not just an opportunity, either. It's the swing game in a five-game series.
|1||SUN, AUG. 2, 2020||CBJ 2, TOR 0 // GAME HIGHLIGHTS|
|2||TUE, AUG. 4, 2020||TOR 3, CBJ 0 // GAME HIGHLIGHTS|
|3||THU, AUG. 6, 2020||TBD|
|4||FRI, AUG. 7, 2020||TBD|
|5 (IF REQUIRED)||SUN, AUG. 9, 2020||TBD|
Tied 1-1, what happens on Tuesday night has the potential to swing the entire series. In order for Columbus to be that team, it'll both need to maintain its strong play from goaltender Joonas Korpisalo while figuring out some way to score more often.
Through two games, the Blue Jackets have managed only a single goal with Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen in front of the net. It came on Cam Atkinson's third-period shot in Game 1. That's an unsustainable level of offensive play. Perhaps most importantly on offense, Foligno says Columbus just needs to shoot more. In Game 2, Toronto nearly took twice as many shots as the Blue Jackets.
It'll start on the defensive end, though, where Columbus thrived in Game 1 before allowing 39 shots in Game 2.
“You know what they bring, so for us it's just trying to stop them,” Foligno said. “Obviously if you use our physicality to our advantage, I think in the first game that's what helped us with them not generating too much. I think our forecheck needs to be better. I mean, it's all stuff that we know. That's why I think we're moving past it. There's one thing about our team: We always seem to bounce back the right way, and that's why I'm confident in this group and what we're going to bring tomorrow knowing that it's a really important game for us. It's important to answer back after a tough one yesterday, and we're really excited about that challenge.”
Columbus Blue Jackets Projected Lines
|42||ALEXANDRE TEXIER||18||PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS||28||OLIVER BJORKSTRAND|
|14||GUSTAV NYQUIST||10||ALEXANDER WENNBERG||13||CAM ATKINSON|
|71||NICK FOLIGNO||38||BOONE JENNER||19||LIAM FOUDY|
|50||ERIC ROBINSON||20||RILEY NASH||52||EMIL BEMSTROM|
|8||ZACH WERENSKI||3||SETH JONES|
|44||VLADISLAV GAVRIKOV||58||DAVID SAVARD|
|27||RYAN MURRAY||14||DEAN KUKAN|
|70||JOONAS KORPISALO||90||ELVIS MERZLIKINS|
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
|88||WILLIAM NYLANDER||34||AUSTON MATTHEWS||11||ZACH HYMAN|
|65||ILYA MIKHEYEV||91||JOHN TAVARES||16||MITCH MARNER|
|89||NICHOLAS 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|
|31||FREDERIK ANDERSEN||36||JACK CAMPBELL|
- The swing game: Had the Blue Jackets managed to capture Game 2, they would have had total command. Only one team in NHL history has ever come back from a 0-2 deficit in a five-game series, and it happened in the 1980s. Instead, Toronto pulled off the victory, evening the series at one win apiece. Now, both teams enter a pivotal Game 3 that will put the winner a single victory away from advancing to the playoffs. It doesn't quite carry the consequences that beating the Maple Leafs on Tuesday would have, but it will determine which way this series swings next and who gets put on the doorstep of the playoffs.
- Korpi's on a roll: It took nearly five periods of Stanley Cup Qualifying action for Joonas Korpisalo to allow a single goal. He was outstanding in Game 1, holding Toronto scoreless, and then he followed that up by doing everything he could to prevent the Maple Leafs from running the score up in Game 2 with 36 saves. A lot went wrong for Columbus in the second game of the series, but Korpisalo played his butt off once again. Considering the team's offensive woes, it'll need him to hold it down for a third straight game.
- Offensive woes: The much-discussed inability to score burned Columbus in Game 2, when the team threw up a goose egg in a game that could have put Toronto in a deficit it was unlikely to recover from. In Game 3, the Blue Jackets simply cannot afford to let this dry spell continue. One way or another, they have to figure out a way to score. Otherwise, it could be a second painful showdown in a row.