Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Where: Scotiabank Arena
When: Sunday, August 2, 2020, 8:00 pm ET
We have game one of an Eastern Conference Playoff Qualifying series to discuss when the Columbus Blue Jackets meet the Toronto Maple Leafs. These two sides ended the regular season tied with 81 points and this is going to be a fantastic series to watch and wager on.
Columbus Shaky Special TeamsColumbus ended the regular season with a 37-33-15 record and that was good enough for an eighth-place tie with the Maple Leafs. When play was halted, the Blue Jackets were riding a one-game winning streak but were 3-4-3 over their previous ten games. Columbus ended the regular season twenty-eighth in goals scored per game (2.57) and finished fourth in goals allowed per game (2.61).
The Blue Jackets special teams could be a huge factor in this series; the power play unit finished twenty-seventh with a 16.7 percent success rate while the penalty kill unit ended twelfth with an 81.7 percent kill rate this season.
Elvis Merzlikins is likely manning the cage for Columbus and he’s coming off of a 13-9-8 season with a 2.35 GAA alongside 92 percent save percentage with five shutouts this season. Merzlikins was 2-3 over his last five games and Sunday will be the first time the young goaltender will meet the Maple Leafs this season.
Maple Leafs Light the LampAs previously mentioned, the Maple Leafs were tied with the Blue Jackets for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and finished the regular season with 36-25-9 mark. Toronto was riding a one-game winning streak when play was suspended and was 5-4-1 over their last ten games. The Maple Leafs were third in goals scored (3.39) while allowing an NHL twenty-sixth best 3.1 goals per game this season.
🗨️ We believe in our team. We believe we’ve had a lot of great moments throughout the season in my time here, that show what we’re capable of doing.— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 30, 2020
🎥 Media mashup | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/dIkQ2KnRup
Special teams will matter in this series and the Maple Leafs were sixth in the league with a 23.1 percent success rate while the penalty-kill unit was twenty-first with a 77.7 percent penalty kill rate this season.
Frederick Anderson is expected to guard the cage and he ended his 2019-2020 campaign with a 29-13-7 record with a 2.85 GAA and 90 percent save percentage. Anderson also posted three shutouts this season and won four of his last five starts. Anderson was 1-0 this season against the Blue Jackets with a 2.46 GAA and 92 percent save percentage.
- Blue Jackets are 3-12 in their last 15 overall.
- Blue Jackets are 1-6 in their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Blue Jackets are 1-7 in their last 8 games as an underdog.
- Maple Leafs are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Maple Leafs are 10-3 in their last 13 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Maple Leafs are 19-7 in their last 26 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I firmly believe that special teams is going to win this series and Toronto has the better of the two in this category. The Maple Leafs also know how to score goals and I suspect Merzlikins will have the jitters and Toronto will take it to the Blue Jackets in game one. Anderson is a more than competent goaltender and he and his blue line should be able to keep the lite-scoring Columbus side from scoring too many goals. I will take Toronto to win this game on Sunday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
Vegas posted a total of six goals and that’s about right. In fact, I believe this number is a bit low. Toronto can score at strength, half strength, and likely could score on Columbus shorthanded. The Maple Leafs also allow goals and I suspect that Columbus might find the back of the net a couple of times and they might even score a power-play goal. I think this one is a 4-3 ending and I will be playing the OVER in this matchup!
Prediction: Over 6