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Maple Leafs Aim to Even Series vs Blue Jackets

Joonas Korpisalo #70 of the Columbus Blue Jackets makes a glove save against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round.

The Toronto Maple Leafs knew they would find the Columbus Blue Jackets’ sensational defense and goaltending a challenge – but even they have to be surprised at what happened in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference postseason qualification series. A 2-0 loss has the high-powered Maple Leafs under the gun as they look to rebound Tuesday afternoon in Game 2.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Date/Time: August 4, 4 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Scotiabank Arena
  • TV Coverage: FS-O, SNET, NBCSN
  • Opening Odds: Maple Leafs -159 | O/U 6.5 (Line History)
  • Blue Jackets vs Maple Leafs Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Toronto came into Game 2 as an eye-opening -159 play, but that line has settled into the -145 to -150 range (similar to the Game 1 odds). The opening total of 6.5 is now sitting at 5.5 at the majority of sportsbooks.

Columbus News & Notes

The Blue Jackets won’t win many style points, but at this point in the season that doesn’t matter – and while it took them time to get comfortable in Sunday’s series opener, they were at their stingiest for the entire second half, finishing the game with 18 blocked shots while limiting Toronto to just 28 shots on goal. They also outhit the Maple Leafs by an impressive 37-26 margin.

On the offensive end, Cam Atkinson was the most dangerous player on either roster, finishing with a goal and an assist to become the Blue Jackets’ all-time leader in playoff goals (eight) and points (20). Atkinson was limited to just 44 regular-season games, recording 12 goals and 14 assists. He has four goals in his last six games vs Toronto and could be a sneaky value prop pick.

Toronto News & Notes

Sunday’s loss didn’t knock the Maple Leafs out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it makes reaching the 16-team tournament even more difficult since they now need to win three of their next four meetings to eliminate the Blue Jackets. And it’s important to note that goal scoring remains a concern, with Toronto scoring just five goals in four games prior to the COVID-19 hiatus.

That all said, you can’t help but feel like Sheldon Keefe’s crew will come out firing in Game 2 after being matched blow for blow offensively by a largely anemic Columbus attack. Auston Matthews, who finished third in goal scoring during the season, was robbed by Joonas Korpisalo’s glove hand in the second period Sunday, but we’re confident he’ll convert Tuesday.

Betting Pick: Maple Leafs -1.5

The struggle is real for the Toronto offense – but this is still the team that averaged the most goals in the league after Keefe was hired as head coach, and the added urgency of wanting to avoid an 0-2 hole should motivate the Leafs even more.

Shark Bites
  • Columbus is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games at Toronto.
  • Toronto is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Toronto’s last 7 home games.