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Spencer Lussier

After scoring more goals in yesterday’s game than they have all month of December, Toronto will hope to have a little more in the offensive arsenal to pick up yet another win against a tough Columbus team. After scoring only seven goals in the month, Toronto exploded for eight including goals from Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Hopefully for Leaf fans that this will be the start of a hot streak for the slumping sophomores. Mike Babcock will keep Nylander at centre after a strong showing yesterday, with Auston Matthews out once again. Playing at centre it allows Nylander to expand his game and seems to have more room down the middle of the ice to skate with the puck. Curtis McElhinney gets the start tonight on the back end of a back-to-back against his former team. Since being acquired by the Leafs last season, McElhinney has started twice against the Blue Jackets allowing seven goals and losing both games.

Columbus remains a threat in the Metropolitan division, but lately has been off their game. Losers of three of their last four, Columbus are having a tough time keeping the puck out of their net during this stretch. In two of their last three losses the Blue Jackets have allowed the opponent to score seven goals, including their last lost. Not a bad spot for the Leafs to go to after their offensive onslaught yesterday. Sergei Bobrovsky gets the night off so it will be Joonas Korpisalo in the Columbus net. Korpisalo is no stranger to the Leafs, sporting a 3-1 record against the buds. Just like the Leafs, Columbus will be without their superstar American sophomore Zach Werenski tonight. It was announced earlier this morning he was out with an undisclosed injury. Despite their recent struggles, Columbus remains to be a team that relies on their goaltending and defence to lock down early leads, and can be very dangerous if given the opportunity. The Leafs will need to strike first early in order to disrupt Columbus’ game plan.

Player to Watch for Columbus:

Josh Anderson is the player to watch for Columbus. The Burlington, Ontario native is a spark plug for the Blue Jackets. He is a physical player and this year has been a nice offensive piece for the Blue Jackets. On the first line alongside Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois he holds the team lead in goals with 13.. He is among the forward leaders in ice time and is one of John Tortorella’s go-to-guys. You will see lots of Anderson tonight.

Watchability Scale:

Eight goals last night… I want to see if there is more in the tank for the Leafs. Columbus, despite some injuries and a night off for goalie Bob, still has plenty of talent. 4/5 on the scale for tonight.

Lines:

Leafs:

Komarov – Kadri – Brown

Marleau – Nylander – Hyman

JVR – Bozak – Marner

Martin – Moore – Kapanen

Rielly – Hainsey

Gardiner – Carrick

Borgman – Polak

McElhinney

 

Blue Jackets:

Panarin – Dubois – Anderson

Foligno – Wennberg – Atkinson

Milano – Jenner – Bjorkstrand

Calvert – Sedlak – Hannikainen

Johnson – Jones

Harrington – Savard

Carlsson – Nutivaara

Korpisalo