Zach Werenski, Ryan Murray To Play, Joonas Korpisalo To Start Game 5 Against Toronto Maple Leafs

By Colin Hass-Hill on August 9, 2020 at 12:20 pm
Zach Werenski
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Based on how the Columbus Blue Jackets ended Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Qualifying series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, it seemed as though they might be down two of their top defensemen.

Zach Werenski got subbed out during the third period because of an undisclosed injury and did not return to action, putting his status for the final game of the series in doubt. Ryan Murray did not suit up for Game 4 after playing in the first three games of the series. Despite whatever they were dealing with, Werenski and Murray will be in the lineup on Sunday, coach John Tortorella announced.

"Both are in," Tortorella said on Sunday afternoon.

Columbus also will go back to Joonas Korpisalo as the starting goaltender on Sunday, Tortorella confirmed.

Korpisalo started the first three games of the series, including a shutout in Game 1, before Tortorella went to Elvis Merzlikins to give his team a spark midway through Game 3. Columbus proceeded to pull out a 4-3 overtime victory, so Tortorella started Merzlikins in the net for Game 4. He allowed three goals late in regulation then gave up the game-winner in overtime on Friday.

Merzlikins was ruled unfit to play in Sunday's game due to injury, so Matiss Kivlenieks will serve as Korpisalo's backup. 

"Obviously Korpi has had a great year before his injury and came back, did some great things in this series for us," Seth Jones said. "So whatever goalie's in the net, we're happy and confident and comfortable with that. I know he'll have a great game tonight."

In front of him, having Werenski and Murray in the lineup should help, too.

"Obviously our defensive depth is a big part of our team, and I'm happy that they're back in the lineup," Jones said. "They're big pieces offensively and defensively and in all situations, so they should play a key part in the win."

The puck will drop at 8 p.m. Sunday for Game 5 of the five-game series.

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