Korpisalo, Blue Jackets rebound to knock out Maple Leafs in Game 5
Zach Werenski and Liam Foudy provided the goals and Joonas Korpisalo stopped 33 shots as the Blue Jackets eliminated the Maple Leafs with a 3-0 win in Game 5.
Columbus will face the Lightning in First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight year.
There was a question heading into Game 5 whether Werenski would be able to play. He didn’t play a shift after the middle of the third period in Game 4. His absence would have left a big hole on the Blue Jackets’ blue line.
But Werenski suited up and played 22:44 and made an impact. His biggest contribution came when he opened the scoring via a wrist shot from the point 6:29 into the game.
From there, the Maple Leafs pressed and pressed and pressed. Hoping to keep the pressure on, Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe reunited his “superstar” line of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares at times. But as the game wore on and Korpisalo kept stopping every shot, the trio were broken up in hopes of spreading out the attack.
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It didn’t matter. Korpisalo didn’t budge and rebounded after being pulled 29 minutes into Game 4. He finished the series with a .967 even strength save percentage.
While the Blue Jackets netminder kept doing his job, Columbus seemed happy to sit back and defend in the third period, hoping to take advantage of an opportunity. That’s where Foudy came in.
The rookie forward took control of the puck deep in the Toronto zone as the Maple Leafs went for a line change. Martin Marincin was stuck one-on-one with Foudy, and the 20-year-old wired a low shot by Frederik Andersen to clinch the series.
Of course, after the wild ending to Game 5, a 2-0 third period lead didn’t mean security for the Blue Jackets. But they stayed strong defensively and Nick Foligno put the final nail in with an empty netter with 22.8 seconds to go.
(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ wins series 3-2)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Maple Leafs 3, Blue Jackets 0 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Blue Jackets 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT) (recap)
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT) (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0