Two very different styles will meet when the Maple Leafs face-off against the Blue Jackets. Toronto, known for the amazing group of offensive stars will be looking to finally win a playoff series. Columbus on the other had are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. This series is going to be one of the more intense of the qualifying round.

Columbus Blue Jackets 

Columbus had one of the worse offseason’s  last year. Losing both MVP candidate Panarin and goalie Bobrovsky to free agency, the expectations were low for this season. Being one of the best defensive teams in the league, the Blue Jackets were able to put themselves into the playoffs. Bjorstrand finished as their top scorer with 21 goals. Columbus only had two players score 20 or more goals and no one reached the 50 point plateau.

The key for Columbus will be to slow down Toronto’s offence. If the Maple Leafs are able to score at will, this will be a very short series. However with John Torterella behind the bench, Columbus has a chance. With all of his experience he will surely make life hard for Toronto. The play in net from Korpisalo also played a huge part in their bounce back.

Toronto Maple Leafs

There is no doubt if there is one thing the Maple Leafs can excel at is scoring. Since Sheldon Keefe took over as coach, the Maple Leafs have become a much more complete team. Their numbers on offense went up as Matthews scored a career high 47 goals in his first injury free season. Even Nylander bounced back after the horror show last season, scoring 31 goals and recording 59 points.

The biggest problem the Maple Leafs had was their play on the defensive end. Even with Andersen playing well, they just couldn’t give him the support he needed. Too many times this season the Maple Leafs gave up the lead. Injuries did play a part in their poor numbers as only a hand full of times were they able to send out a healthy line-up.

Prediction

My prediction is that the Maple Leafs will move on. My gut tells me it will more than likely go the distance. Columbus just doesn’t have the offence to keep up and even if the Leafs defense plays decent, they should be able to handle it. If any team needed the pause it was Toronto. They now have the chance to make up for their mediocre season and hopefully end their poor run of form in the playoffs.