The Columbus Blue Jackets are currently on a five game winning streak, which is currently the longest in the NHL.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are home for the first time since the Christmas break and they’re going to be facing one of the league’s powerhouses, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
William Espy (WE): Obviously the biggest news of the offseason was John Tavares leaving the New York Islanders and joining the Maple Leafs, how has he been with his new team?
Alex Hobson (AH): I’m going to try and be as unbiased as I can with this, but Tavares has been everything he was expected to be if not more. In Toronto, the majority of the hype surrounds Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, seeing that they’re two top five picks that sort of kicked off the rebuild and have been with the team since they were drafted. However, Tavares has quietly put up 24 goals and a total of 42 points in 37 games with the Maple Leafs, currently on pace for a career high in goals and points. Him and Mitch Marner together is a match made in heaven.
WE: Of course there’s the “big four” forwards in Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander as well as Morgan Rielly on the blue line. But who are some lesser known players on Toronto that Blue Jackets fans should keep an eye on?
AH: For this game in particular, keep an eye on Kasperi Kapanen and Trevor Moore. Kapanen was on Matthews’ wing during the Nylander contract dilemma and has stepped in very nicely. He will be on a line with Matthews and Nylander both tonight. Moore on the other hand was just recently called up and has skill coursing through his veins. Had a nice assist to Frederik Gauthier‘s goal in his debut.
WE: What are your thoughts on the Columbus Blue Jackets this season?
AH: I think the Blue Jackets have had a very successful season. Despite the weakness of the Metropolitan Division, the fact that they’re battling with the defending Stanley Cup champions for top spot in the division has to be considered a success if anything. Cam Atkinson is working every day to stop being called underrated and start being called a star, While Seth Jones has been proving to be a number one defenseman.
WE: How do you think this game will go?
AH: I predict a very close game. The Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets both have lots of goal scoring as well as elite goaltending, so it will be a very exciting game.
As Alex said, this game will certainly be an exciting one. The Maple Leafs are currently second in the NHL while the Blue Jackets are sixth. It’s worth noting, the Maple Leafs are also on a four game winning streak so either way a winning streak will be broken tonight.