Blue Jackets Defeat Maple Leafs in Game 5, Qualify for First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

By Jacob Nitzberg on August 9, 2020 at 10:28 pm
Aug 9, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist (14) and forward Boone Jenner (38)celebrate a goal by Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (not pictured) as Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie (94) skates away during the first period of game five of the Eastern Conference qualifications at Scotiabank Arena.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports


In a do-or-die Game 5, the Blue Jackets got an incredible performance from Joonas Korpisalo as they defeated the Maple Leafs, 3-0. With the victory, the Blue Jackets have qualified for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in which they'll play the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Goals from Zach Werenski, Liam Foudy, and Nick Foligno gave the Blue Jackets all the ammo they needed, and the Maple Leafs were unable to solve Korpisalo all night.

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In the first period, the Blue Jackets got the scoring started early. Werenski fired a wrist shot on net which may have deflected off of Boone Jenner, but it found the back of the net to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead. Werenski got official credit for the goal.

Later in the period, John Tavares should have scored to even it at 1-1, but he hit the post in a huge stroke of luck for the Blue Jackets.

After the first 20 minutes, the Blue Jackets led the Maple Leafs, 1-0. 

The two teams battled back and forth in the second period, but neither could find the back of the net as Korpisalo turned in an impressive performance, stopping all 13 shots he faced. 

The third period saw an offensive onslaught from the Maple Leafs, but the Blue Jackets weathered the storm thanks to total team defense, including Korpisalo turning in save after save. 

Then, it was Liam Foudy's moment. Undetected, he controlled a dump-in in the Maple Leafs' zone and banked a shot in to give the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead — one they wouldn't relinquish.

The Maple Leafs kept pushing, but Korpisalo wasn't letting anything through. 

With 22 seconds left, Nick Foligno added an empty net goal, and that was all she wrote.

What a win. The Blue Jackets showed resilience after a tough Game 4, and they played to their strengths tonight. Quality goaltending and a team effort paved the path to victory.

Game Notes

  • Columbus earned its second-ever playoff series victory with tonight’s winner-take-all Game 5 win. The Jackets defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in the 2019 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
  • The Blue Jackets opened and closed the series against the Maple Leafs with a shutout victory. It’s the first two shutouts in franchise playoffs history.
  • Columbus scored the first goal of the game for the third time in the series (also Games 1 and 4). Teams that score first in a winner-take-all Game 5 are now 20-6 and have won six of the last eight instances with tonight's victory.
  • The Jackets scored a first period goal for the second-straight contest.
  • The Blue Jackets killed off the lone Maple Leafs’ power play attempt tonight and finished the series killing off 11-of-13 of Toronto’s attempts (84.7).
  • G Joonas Korpisalo pitched his second shutout of the series after stopping all 33 Maple Leafs shots. He is the first goaltender to record a shutout in a series opener and clincher since Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1 and Game 4 vs Los Angeles (2018 R1) and in Game 1 and Game 6 vs San Jose (2018 R2). He is the eighth different goaltender in NHL history to record multiple shutouts in a best-of-five series and first since 1983 (Bob Sauve for Buffalo in DSF).
  • D Zach Werenski notched the Jackets’ first goal of the game for his first tally of the 2020 postseason and fourth of his playoffs career (4-8-12 in 24 games).
  • F Liam Foudy recorded his first NHL goal in his seventh career game (including regular season) with 8:20 left in the third period.  He finished with three shots on 17:32 of ice time.
  • LW Gus Nyquist registered his first postseason point as a Blue Jacket with an assist on Foudy’s third period goal.
  • D Seth Jones picked up his second point of the playoffs (1-1-2) with an assist on Foudy’s goal. It was his 13th career playoff helper as a Jacket, one shy of tying RW Cam Atkinson for the franchise record.
  • LW Nick Foligno posted his first goal of the 2020 playoffs and eighth of his NHL postseason career with the empty net tally.

Next Up

The Blue Jackets will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with puck drop for Game 1 set for 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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