The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night in game 1 of the playoff qualifying round. The Leafs have only been shut out once in their 70 game season but they start off their qualifying round with a goose egg. The Leafs did manage 28 shots through the first 54 minutes of the game but they failed to register a single shot in the final 6 minutes while down by a goal. The Blue Jackets capitalized on the Leafs’ empty net in the dying seconds of the game to seal the deal and take a 1-0 series lead.

Korpisalo Makes History

Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made a statement on Sunday night as he shut down arguably the leagues most potent offence with a 28 save performance. The 26-year-old Finnish goaltender records the first ever post-season shutout in Blue Jackets history and is just the 14th goalie in history to record a shutout in his playoff debut. Korpisalo is also the first goaltender to shutout the Leafs in a post-season game since Arturs Irbe did so in the 2002 eastern conference finals.

Freddy Showing No Signs Of Rust

Many analysts were skeptical about Frederik Andersen performing at a high level after a lengthy layoff since he has historically been a subpar performer in October when the NHL season commences. It has been nearly 5 months since Andersen played a game and he really stood tall to the difficult task in front of him. Freddy turned aside 33 of the 34 shots he faced while posting a remarkable .971 save percentage. Out of Andersen’s 49 career post-season games this was the 4th highest save percentage that he has posted. Needless to say the Leafs wasted an excellent effort from their veteran goaltender.

Matthews the Lone Forward To Show Up

The vast majority of Leafs’ forwards had a miserable time getting any sort of pressure against the Blue Jackets’ defensive core. The Blue Jackets did an effective job clogging the middle of the ice and forcing the Leafs to the perimeter. Auston Matthews was the Leafs’ only star to not be completely invisible on Sunday night. He rang a shot off the post early on and then was absolutely robbed on a one-timer from the slot in the 2nd period. Matthews led all players with 6 shots on Sunday night and contributed to over 21% of the Leafs’ total shots. If Matthews can continue this kind of momentum, the Blue Jackets won’t be able to keep him off the scoreboard for much longer.

The Leafs and Blue Jackets will play game 2 on Tuesday at 4 pm in Toronto. Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe has a tough decision to make as his line consisting of Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Ilya Mikheyev was completely invisible on Sunday night. Keefe has to decide whether to give this trio another chance to redeem themselves or if he should split them up in hopes that they find chemistry with new linemates. One thing is for certain; if the Leafs don’t get it done on Tuesday afternoon, the series is all but over.