Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win — Edmonton Sun

The Tampa Bay Lightning knew before the Eastern Conference final even began that the New York Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight. And for a long, frightening stretch there Thursday night, there was real concern the stingy, stubborn Islanders wouldn’t be going down at all. But with Game 7 flashing before their eyes, the […]

Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win — Edmonton Sun

Lightning secure Stanley Cup final berth with gritty OT win

Author of the article:Robert Tychkowski

Publishing date:Sep 18, 2020  •  Last Updated 1 hour ago  •  4 minute read

The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate their 2-1 overtime win over the New York Islanders in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. PHOTO BY PERRY NELSON /USA Today Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning knew before the Eastern Conference final even began that the New York Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight.

And for a long, frightening stretch there Thursday night, there was real concern the stingy, stubborn Islanders wouldn’t be going down at all.

But with Game 7 flashing before their eyes, the Lightning finally landed a shot that guarantees New York won’t be getting up off the canvas.

Anthony Cirelli scored 13:18 into overtime, banking the puck home off the post to close out the Islanders 2-1 in Game 6 and set up a Stanley Cup Final showdown with the Dallas Stars.

“It’s just a blur, but to be playing for the Stanley Cup final is every kid’s goal growing up,” said Cirelli. “The emotions are so high. We’ve worked all year to get to the Stanley Cup Final and we’re here now. We’re ready to go.”

Tampa improved to 5-0 in games following a loss, showing an ability to fight through adversity at every turn.

“It’s how we respond, the character we have in that locker-room,” said winger Patrick Maroon, who’s looking for two in a row after winning a Cup with St. Louis last season.

“We have that mentality of the next man up. I’m super proud of these guys. It just goes to show how much character we have. We have that no-quit mentality in our locker-room.”

It was a battle for most of Game 6. Despite a 17-6 advantage in shots, the teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes on goals from New York’s Devon Toews at 4:15 and a quick reply from Tampa’s Victor Hedman at 6:28.

By the end of regulation, Tampa had doubled the Islanders’ shot total, 42-21, but still had nothing to show for it but frustration thanks to goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the Isles’ bend-but-don’t-break style.

“When you reach the conference final, there are no easy games,” said Hedman. “A great defensive effort on their part. They have a lot of skill up front and a great goaltender. It was a hard-fought battle.”

Cirelli ended it from the doorstep to put Tampa in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2015, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. It begins Saturday.

“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Hedman. “It’s such a hard league to go far in. We really came together here as a group and we’re super excited to get back to the finals. I can’t wait to get it going.”

It’s sweet redemption for the Lightning, who were Stanley Cup favourites last season only to be swept in the first round by Columbus.

“The belief in our group is so strong, and that’s not something that just happens overnight,” said defenceman Ryan McDonagh. “We knew it was going to be tough, but our group believes in one another. Now that we’re here, we’re really determined and focused to finish the job.”

Some teams consider it bad luck to hoist a conference championship trophy, preferring to wait until they get a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, but the Lightning were all over the Prince of Wales trophy, including injured captain Steve Stamkos.

“We talked about it quickly after,” said Alex Killorn. “In 2015, we didn’t touch it. We’re not too superstitious, but we thought, ‘Screw it, let’s grab it.’ We’re going to celebrate this and hopefully celebrate another after.”

ON THE RISE

The Islanders finished in seventh place in the east and gained momentum as the playoffs went on, beating Washington in the first round and taking down Philadelphia in the second.

Coming two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final is tough to take, but with Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello driving the bus, their future looks very good.

“There are very few teams that put a group together and win a championship right away without a little failure on the way,” said Trotz. “When the Islanders won four straight (Stanley Cups), there was a lot of hardship on the front end. Same with Edmonton and Detroit. My former club (Washington) had a lot of heartbreak before we broke through. There are a lot of lessons on the way. Learning these lessons are invaluable.”

INJURY FRONT

The Lightning lost Games 3 and 5, the two games that leading scorer Brayden Points didn’t dress for, so they were glad to have him back in the lineup for Game 6.

Point’s status has been a daily concern in the Tampa locker-room, but head coach Jon Cooper said they never put the situation ahead of the player.

“In the end, it’s the player we care about the most. If we’re going to put the player in harm’s way, we will not play him. If we do, then it’s justified because we’ve gone through all the steps. We’re always looking after the player first.”

HEDS UP

Hedman’s first-period goal is his ninth of the playoffs, the third most by any defenceman in a single playoff year. Hedman moved past Denis Potvin and into a tie with Bobby Orr and Brad Park, two goals behind Brian Leetch and three behind Paul Coffey.

E-mail: rtychkowski@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @Rob_Tychkowski

JONES: Expect repercussions in Calgary after huge Game 6 Flameout against Dallas — Edmonton Sun

You can’t write about sports in Edmonton without writing about sports in Calgary. It’s just the way it works. Read More

JONES: Expect repercussions in Calgary after huge Game 6 Flameout against Dallas — Edmonton Sun

Four days earlier Calgary fans were quite enjoying the contrast between the booted-out-of-their-own-bubble Oilers and the surprisingly fabulous Flames being led by former Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot.

Calgary was 15 seconds away from taking a three-games-to-one series lead over the Dallas Stars when they ended up in overtime and lost the game.

Thursday, the Flames became the first team in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs to be ahead by three goals and then behind by four in the same game.

From Calgary’s trip to the final in 2004 to defeating Vancouver in the opening round in 2015, it was a steady stream of one-and-done for the Flameouts. In 2016, the Flames missed the playoffs. They were swept by Anaheim in 2017, missed again in 2018 and were out in five to Colorado last year.

COLUMBUS 4, TORONTO 3 (OT): What the Leafs said.

SHELDON KEEFE

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): I’m wondering where you felt that game got away from you guys once you built the lead? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I feel like the game got away from us right from the start. I didn’t like our game in the first period, I didn’t like our game at 1-0, I didn’t like our game at 2-0 and 3-0. We just got what we deserved today. I thought we reverted back to a lot of really bad habits. We didn’t have any real purpose or plan to our game today, we were just making it up as we go along. We get what we deserve. 

Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): How do you explain that after such a great performance in game two? 

SHELDON KEEFE: Tough to explain. That’s part of the deal. It’s why it’s a playoff series and every day is a new day, just like it was after game one, just like it was after game two and just like it is here. We’ve got to put this behind us and get ready to come back tomorrow. 

Q. (Mark Masters, TSN): What are you going to learn about your group over the next 24 hours? What’s it going to take to bounce back from this? 

SHELDON KEEFE: We’re going to learn a great deal, but I think we’ve already learned this. We’ve been through adventures like this with this team before. We’ve always come back with a great performance. Tomorrow will be no different. 

Q. (Justin Cuthbert, Yahoo Sports): Some increased responsibility for Travis Dermott tonight, wondering how you thought he fared in that role? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I thought that as a team we didn’t help our defence as a group and as a group our defence didn’t help themselves. 

Q. (Jonas Siegel, The Athletic): What message will you leave to the group heading into game four on Friday night? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I’ve already talked to the team here today and really just reiterate the things we were talking about the entire game that we weren’t playing with any real plan or purpose and it caught up with us. It’s over now. We’ve got to regroup here, this is what playoff hockey is all about. The emotions, the swings of momentum, it’s the best part of playoffs here, so a chance to regroup and come back at it tomorrow and be a better version of ourselves than we were today is an exciting part for me. We’ll get to work on that. 

MORGAN RIELLY & JOHN TAVARES

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): I’m just wondering where you think that game started to get away from you guys when you were up 3-0? 

JOHN TAVARES: When they got that goal it just seemed to give them some life and we just didn’t do a lot of the things we did consistently previously in game two, especially wearing them out in their zone. Obviously, they got some life and some jump and started creating some transition opportunities, putting a lot of pucks towards the net. Obviously, when you get a 3-0 lead we have to find a way to close that one out. It is what it is, we have to push forward now and understand what’s in front of us and regroup and have a big one tomorrow. 

Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): Having to come back in less than 21 hours, John, how do you guys bounce back? Is it almost a good thing to have not a lot of time to think about this? 

JOHN TAVARES: It is what it is. Whatever the circumstances are, obviously we understand what’s facing us. We’ve got to regroup and understand the way we’ve got to play and how desperate we’ve got to be. A lot of belief in our group and obviously it’s tomorrow. We’ve got to do the best we can. Recover, fuel up and give everything we’ve got tomorrow. 

Q. (Mark Masters, TSN): Morgan, how do you feel the team handled the absence of Jake Muzzin tonight? 

MORGAN RIELLY: I thought we did a decent job. Obviously, he’s a big part of our team and like I talked about in previous days you can’t really replace him, you can have guys take on more responsibility. I thought we had guys that did that. I thought the penalty kill was pretty good. Obviously, we miss him still but I think it’s important that tomorrow we have guys rise to the occasion more and then game five as well. 

MITCH MARNER & NICK ROBERTSON

Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): You guys were up 3-0 midway through the second period, how do you explain what happened next? 

MITCH MARNER: I think we had that great penalty kill. I think guys really showed urgency to get in lanes and block shots, a couple of bounces here and there. It went to one of their guys to hit one of their guys back door. I think from that moment on we’ve just got to keep cool, keep going. To start the third, we had a power play there for a minute and a bit, we didn’t generate anything, we gave them all the credit there. That’s something we’ve got to change, we’ve got to get way better at. 

Q. (Kevin McGran, Toronto Star): Nick, not the result you wanted tonight but you scored tonight, a pretty good goal, a lot of people are very happy for you. How did it feel to score your first NHL goal and do you know what you’re going to do with the puck? 

NICK ROBERTSON: [Kasperi Kapanen] made a nice play, turned up at the end of his shift and I just tried to get a shot off. Luckily it went in. Obviously, I was excited, but I’ve got to put that excitement away and we’ve got to finish the period there. Didn’t get the result we wanted so hopefully we can be excited afer tomorrow’s game. 

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): Given how quickly it is until game four, what sort of things are you saying to each other? What’s the message to move past this? 

MITCH MARNER: Just erase it. We’re a team that’s been bouncing back all year from things that didn’t go our way. We’ve always showed up the next game and played our hearts out. We’ve got to refocus, get ready. It’s quick turnaround. We know that they’re going to want to finish this out. We’ve got to make sure we’re playing smart, playing above. We got away from that tonight and let them get too many odd-man rushes, too flowy for them. It’s something we’ve got to clean up. 

Q. (Mark Masters, TSN): Mitch, obviously the quick turnaround from a gut-wrenching loss. How do you describe the mental toughness of the team? You guys have been through a lot in the last few years’ playoffs, the scars you’ve picked up. How would you describe the mental toughness of the group? 

MITCH MARNER: Like I just said, we’ve shown our resilience when we’ve had tough losses or haven’t played the way we’ve wanted to. Again tonight, we really let those guys have their way on rushes. Too many 3-on-2s, 4-on-2s, Freddie came up big for us many times. I think our forwards and D, we’ve got to talk more and cover each other better and stay above. That’s what that team does. They kill you on your turnovers, we gave them too many tonight and they didn’t miss on their opportunities when they had them.

TRAIKOS: Blue Jackets’ Dubois a one-man wrecking ball versus Leafs — Toronto Sun

It was during Game 2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs when cameras caught Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella ignoring social distancing rules as he got in the face of Pierre-Luc Dubois and screamed at him for what seemed like an eternity. Read More

TRAIKOS: Blue Jackets’ Dubois a one-man wrecking ball versus Leafs — Toronto Sun

Keefe gets rough playoff baptism — Toronto Sun

Read More

Keefe gets rough playoff baptism — Toronto Sun

If it makes Sheldon Keefe feel better, Pat Burns and Pat Quinn both lost their first playoff games behind the Maple Leafs bench and did fine in the bigger picture of post-season success.

But there’s more urgency when down one in a COVID-19 condensed best-of-five.Unlike the aforementioned pair, whose teams were just happy to be at the dance after years on the sidelines, the 2020 Leafs are built for more immediate success. Now that he’s seen the lay of the land — no home comforts at barren Scotiabank Arena, a feisty foe, a 2-0 loss, and some shortcomings in team execution — Keefe insists his team can counterpunch Tuesday at 4 p.m.

First, he needs more than Auston Matthews to drive the net, even though the leading scorer also caught the full brunt of Blue Jackets defencemen Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. Linemates John Tavares and Mitch Marner, meanwhile, were rarely able to get near the blue paint.

“Taking care of the puck, putting it in intelligent spots, finding different ways to get involved offensively,” Keefe listed for the duo. “This team, as we fully expected, would make it really hard, especially on the rush where Mitch and John have a lot of success. We know we’re facing the No. 1 team in the league defending the rush and because of that, we have to find different ways to score.”

More frequently mentioned whenever public complaints are lodged against Leafs kept on the perimeter is William Nylander. Sunday made it 21 playoff games with just three goals, but Keefe was quick to hush the critics, saying he ranked him with Matthews as the strongest catalysts to get on the board.

“I felt it and the stats back it up — (Nylander) had the puck on his stick more than anyone on our team in the offensive zone,” Keefe claimed “He was not a problem for us.”

There could be a lineup change, either with more stacking of Matthews with Marner and Tavares in 5-on-5 gambits or Pierre Engvall replacing Frederik Gauthier as fourth line centre. Engvall practiced there Monday.

“Pierre didn’t have a great camp,” Keefe summarized. “We think he has more to offer. At his best, he makes us a better team, but we haven’t seen his best. When he gets back in the lineup, we expect him to really push to stay. We need him to be physical, skating, doing all the things he’s capable of.”

ROOKIE ROCKS

As a colleague joked in SBA’s frigid 300 level press area, Nick Robertson would’ve got a Legend’s Row statue had he scored Sunday on that first shift chance, based on so many camp stories written about him. Joonas Korpisalo denied him, but it was an impressive start for the 18-year-old. Like the rest of the Leafs, his energy level waned as the Jackets stiffened.

“It went by so fast,” Robertson said of the Kasperi Kapanen set-up on Korpisalo. “Unfortunately, he got to the left side where I wanted, but it was a good save.

“Personally, I thought I did better than expected. There’s obviously a lot more at stake given my debut’s in playoffs and I’m not given more than one exhibition, but (Tuesday) I’ll be a little more confident, hopefully get more shots off and stick to more of my game.”

COLUMBUS BLOCK PARTY

The Leafs are finding there’s a lot more than Jones and Werenski when it comes to picking the lock on the Jackets’ defence. David Savard had five shot blocks in Game 1, part of 18 throughout their lineup and he and Vladislav Gavrikov formed an effective pairing.

“Savvy has it tattooed on his head he’s going to block shots, that’s a big part of his game,” praised Columbus coach John Tortorella. “(But) after Game 1, I think we need to be even better.”

Tavares noted the Jackets collectively “don’t sell out” when they do get in lanes, giving themselves block options with their bodies and sticks. They take away enough ice that Korpisalo can concern himself with setting up to guard sides and top corners.

“We have to break them down, draw them away from the net, make them defend in their end consistently. I’d like to think we can wear them down over 60 minutes.”

WELCOME HOME

Until Sunday, It had been more than 27 years since a Foligno had a playoff point in Toronto. Columbus captain Nick Foligno’s assist on Alex Wennberg’s empty netter links to papa Mike’s helper on Wendel Clark’s marker in the Leafs’5-4 defeat to Los Angeles in Game 7 of the conference final.

“It’s always a little nostalgic coming back here,” said Nick, who was kindergarten age when Mike was traded here from Buffalo. “The memories of ‘92-93, the way my dad was treated … it’s a place he thinks fondly of and has a lot of great hockey memories of.”

LOOSE LEAFS

If you’ve not heard much of Korpisalo, he was taken to lead off the third round of the 2012 draft. The five goalies selected ahead of him included first rounder Andrei Vasilevskiy, the all-star with Tampa Bay … Frederik Andersen brought his playoff goals-against average under 3.00 with 33 saves Sunday, but he’s now lost 12 of 21 playoff games … Toronto’s Cup odds took a hit after Sunday. BetOnline.com pushed them from 22-to-1 to 40-1, now ranked with Game 1 losers Nashville and the Rangers. Columbus’s 66-to-1 odds didn’t move, with Colorado at 13-to-2 now favoured to win it all … Alex Stalock, with the shutout for the Wild on Sunday, is the same goalie who couldn’t get a shot with the Dubas/Keefe Marlies in 2015-16. Traded from San Jose in the James Reimer deal, he called being buried in the AHL depth chart the low point of his career. He’s also Minnesota’s Bill Masterton Trophy nominee.

lhornby@postmedia.com

COLUMBUS 2, TORONTO 0: WHAT THE LEAFS SAID: “Obviously, they did what they do best and what we were prepared for. We knew it was going to be difficult. Now we go out on the ice and you feel it. Obviously, we didn’t get one to fall for us here today. I thought we did have some chances to get more than what we got on the scoreboard, but it didn’t fall in for us, it fell in for them. That’s the difference.”

SHELDON KEEFE

Q. (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): Sheldon, how concerned were you about your offence tonight or was it just a case of Columbus doing what it does best? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I think it’s both. Obviously, they did what they do best and what we were prepared for. We knew it was going to be difficult. Now we go out on the ice and you feel it. Obviously, we didn’t get one to fall for us here today. I thought we did have some chances to get more than what we got on the scoreboard, but it didn’t fall in for us, it fell in for them. That’s the difference. 

Q. (Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun): How difficult is it when you’re putting Auston out there as much as possible and they’re matching with Jones as much as possible and there you have two of the great players in the NHL going up against each other? 

SHELDON KEEFE: It’s a tough matchup. We can’t forget Werenski in that equation also because he’s a great player, and their forwards. They play as a group of five so no matter who is on the ice it’s going to be hard. This is all stuff that we were prepared for coming in. As I said, now we’re on the ice and you feel it. We didn’t generate as much as I wish we could have. At the same, as I said, it’s a very tight hockey game out there. One falls in for them early in the third period after we had what I thought was a pretty dominant start to the third and thought we were going to be rolling pretty good. All of a sudden, you’re down and it changes the nature of the game from there. Obviously we’ve got to find a way to score.

Q. (Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star): This obviously was the team you expected, the game you expected. Is there anything about this game that makes you worry about the way your team matches up against Columbus going forward or could you see places where the Leafs can handle this matchup better? 

SHELDON KEEFE: Well, I think there’s going to be ways. We’re going to look closer at it and we’ll find ways that we can capitalize a little bit more on some of our opportunities and generate a little bit more. As I said, it’s a very tight game, it’s a good hockey team. It’s two teams that were tight together in the standings, two teams that are very competitive. I thought we played a good enough game to win today, but obviously you can’t win when you don’t score. We’ve got to work with that, but there’s a lot of things that we did do well in the game here today that gave us a chance going into the third period to win the hockey game. We’re going to have to regroup here obviously and push back and get one to go our way next time.  

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): I’m just wondering what your thoughts were on Freddie’s performance. Made some big saves but he wasn’t happy with the goal that beat him. 

SHELDON KEEFE: I thought he did make some big saves, for sure. There was a few times they had some real quality looks. He was very good on those and there was some perimeter chances down the wing and stuff like that that he did a really good job of holding his ground on. Obviously, he misread the one in the third there that got by him, but he kept them to one goal. He, as far as I’m concerned, did his job. We’ve got to find a way to give him some help.

Q. (Justin Cuthbert, Yahoo Sports): It seemed Mitch Marner and John Tavares had trouble getting going tonight. What challenges did you see in front of them and what needs to happen for them to get going in the rest of the series? 

SHELDON KEEFE: I thought they had a pretty good first period, actually. They had some pretty good offensive zone shifts and were around the net a little bit. They didn’t really get a chance to build upon that so we’ll have to look at it a little bit closer. Obviously, that’s another part of it is they’ve got a tough matchup there too, right? Gavrikov and Savard are tough defenders just the same as we’ve already talked about the other two. It’s a tough matchup for them, we need to get a little bit more from them but we need more from everybody obviously. We didn’t get anything from anyone today, we only generated one power play. All those types of things make it harder than it needs to be, but we expected it to be hard, we expected it to be uncomfortable. I thought this one today could have gone either way. It didn’t go our way so we’ve got to regroup here and find a way to be better next time out. 

Q. (Kevin McGran, Toronto Star): Just a couple of words if you could on your third and fourth lines. Start with Nick Robertson, what you thought of a teenager playing in his first game tonight, and then also your decision to limit the Gauthier line, I guess obviously looking for offence there. 

SHELDON KEEFE: First, I thought Robbie had some good moments in the game. In fact, he had a great look early in the hockey game, just got the toe of the goaltender there and obviously that was a big moment that could have put us in a real good spot. It was good to see him get into that position, available to get the shot. Otherwise, I thought he was good in a game that was difficult to play. That would be, by far, the hardest game he’s ever played in, I would imagine. He’s going to have to continue to find his way through that. I thought that Kerfoot and Kappy again, I thought those guys had legs and they were on the puck and gave us some pretty good shifts as a line. As for our fourth line, I thought they had a real tough start to the game, some long sequences in our own zone, just not what you want out of your fourth line. It made it difficult to really find any sort of rhythm with them and then, of course, once we’re down early in the third period, it becomes even harder. 

AUSTON MATTHEWS & MORGAN RIELLY

Q. (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): What happened to you offensively tonight? What do you have to do in game two? 

MORGAN RIELLY: I don’t know. I think we’ve got to look at it. I think that there were chances that we generated, obviously not capitalizing on any, but I think there are good things you have to look at and areas we have to improve on and we’ll do that tomorrow at practice. 

Q. (Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun): It’s one thing to hear about how tight they play and to even watch the film of how tight they play. What was it like to experience it? 

AUSTON MATTHEWS: Well, first of all, it’s unfortunate that I’m getting a question from you at this point, Steve. I just wanted to say I didn’t really appreciate the article you wrote about me a couple months ago. It was a bit unethical, to be honest. Moving along, I thought they obviously play a really structured defence and they make it hard on you to get on the inside. I think we’ve just got to do a better job of maybe shooting more pucks and have guys coming down on it. 

Q. (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): Was there anything that surprised you that they did or was it kind of what you guys were expecting? 

AUSTON MATTHEWS: I don’t think anything really surprised us. They play a pretty straightforward and you know what you’re going to expect every night. They’re going to compete, they’re going to play physical. I thought we did some good things, there are some things we can clean up. Obviously, we’ve got to create more offence, get guys more on the inside and capitalize on some opportunities. Their goalie made some good saves as well. 

Q. (Jonas Siegel, The Athletic): Auston, what’s it like to face somebody as big and who can move like Seth Jones, shift after shift? 

AUSTON MATTHEWS: They’re good players. They’re good on both sides of the puck. We’ve got to be aware when they’re out there and obviously try to be strong down low, physical on the offensive side as well as the defensive side. 

FREDERIK ANDERSEN & ZACH HYMAN 

Q. (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): How frustrating is it to play against that team, their style? 

ZACH HYMAN: They play playoff hockey, this is playoff hockey. I thought we had our chances, we just couldn’t capitalize. You’re not going to win any games if you don’t score any goals. They got one and we couldn’t get on the board. 

Q. (Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star): Freddie, if you could just take us through what you saw on that goal and how it went for you? 

FREDERIK ANDERSEN: I saw him coming down the wing and his initial release looked to be a little bit higher. I reacted up and obviously made a little mistake. It cost us a goal and eventually the game, unfortunately. That’s what I saw. 

Q. (Jonas Siegel, The Athletic): Zach, what kind of challenges does Seth Jones present? 

ZACH HYMAN: He’s obviously an elite defenceman. He’s big and strong, he can skate. He plays well on the defensive side and the offensive side. Just trying to make his life and just out there and battle against him.

BLUE JACKETS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 0. Postgame notes.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (1-0) vs.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (0-1)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 2020

 123OTFINAL
COLUMBUS0022
TORONTO0000

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY

POSTGAME QUOTES:

  • Tonight’s postgame transcript will be updated as it becomes available HERE.
  • The final transcript will be posted to MapleLeafs.com/pressbox


ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Frederik Andersen stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced in the loss.

SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
COLUMBUS8 (8)14 (11)13 (11)35 (30)
TORONTO11 (10)8 (6)9 (9)28 (25)

SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
COLUMBUS24 (21)24 (20)21 (17)69 (58)
TORONTO24 (23)19 (16)19 (19)62 (58)

OF NOTE…

  • The Maple Leafs went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 0-for-1 on the power play tonight.
  • Justin Holl made his Stanley Cup playoff debut.
  • Auston Matthews won 75 percent (6 won, 2 lost) of his offensive zone faceoffs. He was 4-for-6 (67%) on the draw when matched up with Columbus centre Pierre-Luc Dubois.
  • Ilya Mikheyev made his Stanley Cup playoff debut.
  • Nick Robertson made his Stanley Cup playoff debut. He is the fifth Maple Leaf in franchise history to appear in a postseason game with the Maple Leafs at age 18 or younger and the first since the 1940s, per NHL Stats.
  • John Tavares was on the ice for a team-high 29 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5. He finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 60.4 percent (29 for, 19 against). 
  • John Tavares won 70 percent (7 won, 3 lost) of his offensive zone faceoffs. He was 8-for-10 (80%) in the faceoff circle when matched up with Columbus centre Alexander Wennberg. 

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

Shots6 (Matthews)
Shot Attempts(Matthews)
Faceoff Wins15 (Tavares)
Faceoff Win Percentage79% (Tavares)
Hits(Kapanen)
Blocked Shots(Ceci, Kerfoot)
Takeaways(Matthews)
TOI24:38 (Matthews)
Power Play TOI1:32 (Five players tied)
Shorthanded TOI2:33 (Holl)
Shifts26 (Five players tied)
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage63.4% (Marner – 26 for, 15 against)
  

UPCOMING GAMES:

  • Tuesday, August 4, 4 p.m., Columbus at Toronto (SN, NBCSN, TVA Sports)
  • Thursday, August 6, TBD, Toronto at Columbus (TBD)
  • Friday, August 7, TBD, Toronto at Columbus (TBD)*
  • Sunday, August 9, TBD, Columbus at Toronto (TBD)*
    *If Necessary

Stats reflect official NHL stats at the time of distribution. Please consult official NHL game sheets (links above) to confirm no statistical changes were made.

BLUE JACKETS-MAPLE LEAFS PREGAME NOTES: The Maple Leafs have played a total of 114 series in their previous 68 playoff appearances, winning 58 of them.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (0-0) vs.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (0-0)

AUGUST 2, 2020 ▪ 8:00 PM EST

SCOTIABANK ARENA (TORONTO, ON) ▪
TV: SPORTSNET ▪ RADIO: SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN

MAPLE LEAFS HISTORY versus COLUMBUS


ALL-TIME RECORD
: 14-11-1-4
ALL-TIME at HOME: 6-6-1-3

ALL-TIME PLAYOFF SERIES RECORD: 0-0

ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RECORD: 0-0
2019-20: 1-0-1

MAPLE LEAFS CAREER LEADERS versus COLUMBUS

GAMES: John Tavares (27), Jason Spezza (22), Kyle Clifford (20), Morgan Rielly (20)
POINTS: John Tavares (33), Mitch Marner (12), Jason Spezza (12)

GOALS: John Tavares (14), Mitch Marner (5), Jason Spezza (4)

ASSISTS: John Tavares (19), Morgan Rielly (9), Tyson Barrie (9)

PENALTY MINUTES: Kyle Clifford (23), John Tavares (16), Jake Muzzin (14)

BLUE JACKETS CAREER LEADERS versus TORONTO

GAMES: Nick Foligno (46), Brandon Dubinsky (32), Gustav Nyquist (27)

POINTS: Brandon Dubinsky (23), Nick Foligno (22), Gustav Nyquist (20)

GOALS: Gustav Nyquist (11), Nick Foligno (10), Brandon Dubinsky (7)

ASSISTS: Brandon Dubinsky (16), Nick Foligno (12), Seth Jones (9), Gustav Nyquist (9)

PENALTY MINUTES: Nick Foligno (38), Brandon Dubinsky (26), Nathan Gerbe (16)

MAPLE LEAFS ACTIVE PLAYOFF LEADERS

GAMES: Jason Spezza (80), Jake Muzzin (57), Kyle Clifford (55)

POINTS: Jason Spezza (70), John Tavares (27), Jake Muzzin (22)
GOALS: Jason Spezza (25), John Tavares (13), Auston Matthews (10)

ASSISTS: Jason Spezza (45), Jake Muzzin (15), John Tavares (14)
PENALTY MINUTES: Kyle Clifford (62), Jason Spezza (28), Jake Muzzin (20)

2019-20 SEASON SERIES

October 4, 2019: Toronto 4 vs. Columbus 1

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY

Toronto Goals: Marner (2), Ceci, Matthews

Columbus Goals: Atkinson

October 21, 2019: Columbus 4 vs. Toronto 3 OT

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY

Toronto Goals: Kapanen, Matthews, Nylander

Columbus Goals: Nash, Dubois, Wennberg, Nyquist

MAPLE LEAFS SNAPSHOTS

Postseason Appearances– The 2020 postseason marks the Maple Leafs’ 69th appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Series History– The Maple Leafs have played a total of 114 series in their previous 68 playoff appearances, winning 58 of them.
Playoff Record– Toronto has a record of 262-285-4 in 551 franchise playoff games.
Best of Five– The Toronto franchise (Arenas, St. Pats, Maple Leafs) has played in 15 best-of-five series in its history and have a 7-8 record in that span
Toronto vs. Columbus– This is the first time the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets have met in a postseason series.
Postseason Experience– Frederik AndersenKasperi KapanenZach HymanAuston MatthewsMitch MarnerWilliam Nylander and Morgan Rielly have appeared in all 20 postseason games contested by the Maple Leafs since the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, per NHL Stats.
In the Atlantic– Toronto finished third in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the NHL standings with a record of 36-25-9 (.569 points percentage).
Team Discipline– The Maple Leafs took the sixth-fewest penalties in the NHL (219) and averaged the third-fewest penalty minutes per game (6.7). 
Faceoffs– The Maple Leafs finished third among NHL teams in faceoff win percentage (52.5%) and tied for second among NHL teams in offensive zone faceoff win percentage (54.0%).
Goals by Strength– The Maple Leafs were third in the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (159).
Power Play– The Maple Leafs have the third fewest power play opportunities (195) among NHL teams that have scored at least 40 power play goals (45).
Penalty Kill– Toronto was shorthanded 193 times this season, which was the eighth-fewest times shorthanded in the NHL.
Scoring First– Toronto had a .774 win percentage when scoring first, which tied for the third highest in the NHL.

MAPLE LEAFS – BLUE JACKETS FINAL 2019-20 TEAM STATS

 TORONTOCOLUMBUS
GOALS FOR (Rank):237 (2nd)180 (t-28th)
GOALS AGAINST (Rank):     222 (25th)183 (t-3rd)
POWER PLAY [%] (Rank):45/195 [23.8%] (6th)31/189 [16.4%] (27th)
PENALTY KILL [%] (Rank):150/193 [77.7%] (21st)138/169 [81.7%] (12th)
SHOTS (Rank):2302 (4th)2272 (6th)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR (Rank):3466 (3rd)3133 (14th)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % (Rank):52.0% (6th)49.2% (19th)
FACEOFF % (Rank):52.5% (3rd)48.5% (26th)

MAPLE LEAFS 2019-20 LEADERS

CATEGORYLEADER
GOALS47 (Matthews)
ASSISTS51 (Marner)
POINTS80 (Matthews)
POWER PLAY POINTS25 (Matthews)
SHORTHANDED POINTS(Engvall, Kapanen)
PIMs43 (Holl)
SHOTS290 (Matthews)
FACEOFF WIN%55.3% (Tavares)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT %54.6% (Nylander)
BLOCKED SHOTS110 (Muzzin)
TAKEAWAYS78 (Matthews)
HITS109 (Muzzin)
TOI PER GAME24:12 (Rielly)
PP TOI PER GAME3:13 (Marner)
SH TOI PER GAME2:50 (Ceci)

MAPLE LEAFS NOTABLES

Frederik Andersen– Since joining the Maple Leafs in 2016-17, Andersen is 8-11 in 20 Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances. Only nine goaltenders have recorded more postseason wins in a Toronto uniform.- Fourth among NHL goaltenders in wins (29).- Fourth in the NHL in saves (1,434).- Is 6-2-3 in 11 career games against Columbus with a .918 save percentage and a 2.79 goals-against average.
Tyson Barrie– Has appeared in 21 career playoff games and recorded 14 points (one goal, 13 assists).- Had eight multi-assist games, which was tied for the fourth-most among NHL defencemen.- Finished 2019-20 tied for third among NHL defencemen in multi-point games (12).
– Averaged 14.26 shot attempts per game at 5-on-5, which was the sixth-highest average among NHL defencemen who played in at least 50 games.- Ranked 19th among NHL defencemen in 5-on-5 time on ice per game (18:12).
Jack Campbell– Could make his Stanley Cup playoff debut this postseason.- Had a 3-2-1 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.63 goals-against average after being acquired by the Maple Leafs.- Has made two career appearances against the Blue Jackets and is 1-0-1 with a 1.99 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
Kyle Clifford– Has appeared in 55 career playoff games with the Los Angeles Kings and is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion (2012, 2014).- Finished 10th among NHL left wingers who have appeared in 50 games in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (53.6%).
– Averagesd14.85 shot attempts per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which ranked 18th among left wingers.- Averaged 10.33 hits per 60 minutes of ice time, which ranked 32nd among NHL skaters.
Pierre Engvall– Could make his Stanley Cup playoff debut this postseason.- Was fifth among NHL rookie forwards who appeared in 40 games in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (52.0%). – Had an on-ice goals-for percentage of 52.6 percent at 5-on-5, which was the seventh highest among NHL rookie forwards who have appeared in 40 games.- Ranked third among rookie forwards who skated in 40 games in 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes (14.08).
Justin Holl– Could make his Stanley Cup playoff debut this postseason.- Started the eighth-lowest percentage of 5-on-5 shifts (42.3%) in the offensive zone among right-handed defencemen.- Ranked second in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (51.8%) among NHL defencemen who have started less than 45 percent of their 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone (42.3%).- Had the highest unblocked shot attempt percentage at 5-on-5 (52.6%) among NHL defencemen to have started fewer than 45 percent (42.0%) of their shifts in the offensive zone.
Zach Hyman– Has appeared in 20 career playoff games and recorded nine points (3-6-9).- Tied his career-high for goals in a season (21).- Ranked fifth among Maple Leafs skaters in points per game (0.73).- Finished the 2019-20 season tied for third among Toronto forwards in even-strength time on ice per game (16:08).- Ranked third among Toronto forwards in shorthanded time on ice per game (1:52).
Kasperi Kapanen– Has appeared in 20 career playoff games and recorded five points (4-1-5).- Drew 20 penalties this season and took eight, which gave him the highest net penalties among Toronto skaters (+12) and ranked tied for 14th among NHL forwards.- Fourth among Maple Leafs and 19th among NHL right wingers who appeared in 50 games in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.19) at 5-on-5.
Alex Kerfoot– Has appeared in 18 career playoff games with the Colorado Avalanche and recorded five points (2-3-5)- Ranked second among Toronto skaters who appeared in 50 games in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.22) at 5-on-5.- Ranked eighth among Maple Leafs in even-strength points (8-17-25).- Was tied for second among Maple Leafs in primary assists at 5-on-5 (11).
Mitch Marner– Has appeared in 20 career playoff games and recorded 17 career points (5-12-17).- Leads Maple Leafs players with 17 postseason points since 2017 (5-12-17 in 20 GP), per NHL Stats.- Was tied for ninth among NHL skaters in assists (51).- Had 13 multi-assist games, which was tied for the sixth-most among NHL skaters.- Averaged 1.12 points per game, which was the 17th-highest average in the NHL.- Averaged 1.69 assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which ranked 14th among NHLers who have appeared in at least 50 games.- Was tied for ninth in the NHL with 32 primary assists.
Auston Matthews– Per NHL Stats, Matthews’ 10 career playoff goals (20 GP) is the third-most among Maple Leafs before age 23. He trails Ted Kennedy (20 G in 38 GP) and Wendel Clark (11 G in 23 GP).
– Ranked third among NHL skaters in goals (47).- Finished tied for first in the NHL with 35 even-strength goals.- Led the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (30).- Was tied for first in the NHL in wrist shot goals (28).- Finished tied for second in the NHL in multi-goal games (10).- Ranked seventh in the NHL in multi-point games (25).- Was ninth among NHL skaters in points (47-33-80).- Ranked fourth in the NHL with 290 shots on goal.
William Nylander– Has recorded three goals and eight assists in 20 career playoff games.- Established a new career-high for goals (31), which was tied for 15th in the NHL in goals scored.- Led the Maple Leafs and was tied for fifth among NHLers in game-winning goals (7).- Was tied for 14th in the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (19).- Ranked sixth among NHL forwards who averaged 14:00 per game (14:29) in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (54.6%).
Jason Spezza– Leads the Maple Leafs in career playoff games (80), goals (25), assists (45) and points (70).- Averaged 1.98 points per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which was the fourth-highest average among Toronto skaters who appeared in at least 50 games.- Averaged 0.77 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which ranked fifth among Maple Leafs who appeared in at least 50 games.- Averaged 1.21 assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which was tied for the third-highest average among Toronto skaters.
John Tavares– Has skated in 31 career playoff games and recorded 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists).- Finished tied for 20th among NHL skaters in multi-point games (18).- Ranked 10th among NHL centres in 5-on-5 ice time per game (15:26).- Ranked 14th in the NHL in faceoff wins (617)- Has recorded 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in 27 career games against Columbus, which is tied for the 16th most points against the Blue Jackets among active NHLers.
  

INJURY REPORT

Andreas Johnsson (Knee)On injured reserve.

Blue Jacket beat Bruins, Maple Leafs up next — Toronto Sun

Judging by rink board adverts, the Columbus Blue Jackets will have plenty of Ohio-sourced gas and groceries for the playoffs against Toronto. They certainly had more get-up-n’-go than the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, and lots of grind in case the Maple Leafs didn’t know they’ll be handful in Game 1 of the best-of-five qualifier […]

Blue Jacket beat Bruins, Maple Leafs up next — Toronto Sun

LEAFS SNAPSHOTS: Keefe’s already sized up Jackets — Toronto Sun

Tyson Barrie predicts Sheldon Keefe and the Maple Leafs coaches “will hammer us with video” the next couple of days after finally seeing playoff foe Columbus in a real game. But rather than rely solely on Thursday night’s Blue Jackets-Bruins’ exhibition intel, Keefe saw much of what he needed to know in a jolting TV […]

LEAFS SNAPSHOTS: Keefe’s already sized up Jackets — Toronto Sun