Columbus Blue Jackets Face Biggest Test of the Year in Toronto

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 8: Lukas Sedlak
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 8: Lukas Sedlak /

Tonight in Toronto, the Columbus Blue Jackets will face their biggest test of the year.

The regular season in the NHL is a long grind where teams are tested and hopefully prepared for the toughest playoffs in sport. Tonight, the Columbus Blue Jackets will try and tackle their biggest test yet this season when they face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Jackets and Leafs entire tonight’s game as the two hottest teams in the NHL. Over the last seven games the Jackets are 5-0-2 and the Leafs are 6-1-0. The Leafs have the third best record in the entire league while the Jackets are right behind in fifth place.

Although the Jackets have already played a top three team this year, they did so with a major handicap. When the Jackets took on the Lightning early in the October, they did so without Seth Jones or Brandon Dubinsky. Jones’ value to the team is incalculable and Dubinsky brings an edge to the team that goes along way so we didn’t get a full report card back in the 8-2 thumping. 

Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets /

Columbus Blue Jackets

Tonight, the Jackets should have their full squad and Sergei Bobrovsky in net. We have learned plenty about this team in the last few weeks but Toronto poses the biggest challenge and we can learn far more about them tonight.

The Leafs are deep and even without superstar Auston Matthews, the Leafs have a ton of firepower. Mitch Marner, Morgan Riley and John Tavares all have at least 23 points this year. Kasperi Kapanen has eight goals in 20 games as well and has helped cover the scoring lost when Matthews hit the injured reserve.

Frederik Andersen has been stud in net as well. In 16 starts he has a 2.08 goals against average and a save percentage of .934. The Leafs are 11-5 in his starts including a 5-3 win last Thursday over the San Jose Sharks. That was the last game Andersen played in so expected a rested and ready goalie for the Leafs tonight.

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Toronto is a no doubt Stanley Cup contender this year. The Columbus Blue Jackets have the talent to join that club, but need to prove they can compete, and win, against the league’s top teams. Tonight in Canada, the Jackets have a chance to ace their first big test of November and prove they belong at the top of the class.