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Game Preview: Jackets look to rebound, make first visit to Toronto

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t played a game since being routed 7-0 in San Jose on Saturday, ending a three-game California road trip.

After a scoreless first period, the floodgates opened in the second period. Brent Burns, Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl each scored, giving the Sharks a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. The third period saw three more goals from Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Hertl, who scored his second of the night.

In net for the Sharks, goaltender Martin Jones made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Johnathan Bernier made 24 saves for Toronto, in a game that was the Sharks' seventh straight win over the Maple Leafs.

Previously, the Leafs had picked up two points in a 4-0 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 6, and dropped a 2-1 game against the Kings the following night on Jan. 7 in Los Angeles.

The Leafs return to Air Canada Centre in Toronto looking to get back on track. But, similar to the Blue Jackets, the Leafs are dealing with a key injury to their own roster.

On Monday, the Leafs announced that forward James van Riemsdyk will be out approximately 6-8 weeks with a broken foot. Additionally, they recalled forward Josh Leivo from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs last faced off on Oct. 16 at Nationwide Arena in what was the first meeting of the 2015-16 season for these two teams.

Scott Hartnell scored a power play goal just 59 seconds into the third period to tie the game, but the Leafs came back with three goals of their own in the frame to pull away for a 6-3 victory.

The other Columbus goals came from Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno, the captain's tally pulling the Jackets within one goal through 40 minutes. Joffrey Lupul scored the eventual game-winner for Toronto four minutes into the third period.

Goaltender James Reimer made 24 saves to help lead the Leafs to victory. For Columbus, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to keep the Jackets alive for much of the game.

The Jackets are 7-9-1 in the all-time series against the Leafs. Toronto has won three of the last four meetings, including the aforementioned 6-3 win in Columbus.

Defenseman Dion Phaneuf has been the Leafs best offensive contributor from the back end this season. With 20 points (three goals and 17 assists), he’s the team's sixth-leading scorer and has been a steady two-way presence.

At 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, Phaneuf has made a name for himself with thunderous open-ice hits and a heavy shot from the point. The 30-year-old defenseman was selected ninth overall by Calgary during the 2003 NHL Draft, and was traded to the Leafs in a seven-player blockbuster deal in January of 2010.

In 12 career NHL seasons, he’s recorded 120 goals and added 300 assists for 420 points in 790 NHL games played.

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