Skip to main content
game preview

Preview: Maple Leafs at Blue Jackets

Goalie Curtis McElhinney to start for Toronto; Oliver Bjorkstrand likely to replace Scott Hartnell in Columbus lineup

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (26-18-11) at BLUE JACKETS (35-15-5)

7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, FS-O, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs scope

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis McElhinney will start against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Maple Leafs claimed McElhinney on waivers from the Blue Jackets on Jan. 10. "For me the biggest thing is getting another opportunity to play in the NHL. Toronto extended that to me," McElhinney, 33, said. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in four games with the Maple Leafs; he was 2-1-2 with a 2.39 GAA and .924 save percentage in seven games with the Blue Jackets. McElhinney said there was no added motivation playing the Blue Jackets. "As a backup I'm more hopeful about playing games regardless of who they are. The fact I get to come back here and play in a familiar building is a great opportunity." Center Auston Matthews said McElhinney has adapted quickly to the Maple Leafs. "He's been great," Matthews said. "He's taken over the role [as] the oldest guy on the team now. He's an awesome guy. Kind of laid back." Goaltender Frederik Andersen made 33 saves in a 7-1 win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Defenseman Morgan Rielly said he hopes the momentum continues. "There's a good feeling in the room," he said. "We're happy with the win, happy with the way we got there."

 

Blue Jackets scope

Forward Scott Hartnell will not play after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday. Forward Oliver Bjorkstrand, who was recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, will replace Hartnell in the lineup. Bjorkstrand, 21, has one assist in five NHL games this season after he scored four goals and four assists in 12 games with the Blue Jackets last season. This season he leads Cleveland with 14 goals and 26 points in 37 games. "He's shown he can play in the National Hockey League," coach John Tortorella said Tuesday. The forward lines were shuffled during practice Tuesday, with Bjorkstrand with Brandon Saad and center Alexander Wennberg. Tortorella said he wants to put Bjorkstrand in the best position to succeed and it's not on the fourth line. "I'm not sure what the lines are but if we're going to be bring up Bjorkstrand he's going to get into an offensive role," Tortorella said. Bjorkstrand said he is ready. "It's another chance to try and get closer to making the team one day," he said. Goalie Joonas Korpisalo will make his first start since Jan. 31, when he made 33 saves in a 6-4 win against the Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky had started the past six games. 

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Josh Leivo

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Curtis McElhinney

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Martin Marincin, Alexey Marchenko

Injured: Nikita Soshnikov (upper body)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Nick Foligno -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Matt Calvert -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Markus Nutivaara -- Ryan Murray

Joonas Korpisalo

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington

Injured: Scott Hartnell (lower body)

 

Status report

Soshnikov is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game. …  Neither team held a morning skate.

 

Who's hot

Marner has scored four goals and five assists in his past eight games. Kadri has scored three goals and 10 assists in his past 12 games. ... Nylander has scored five goals and two assists in his past six games. … Dubinsky has scored three goals, five assists and eight points in his past six games. ... Jones has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past 10 games.

View More