Blue Jackets eliminate host Leafs to advance - Metro US

Blue Jackets eliminate host Leafs to advance

NHL: Eastern Conference Qualifications-Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs

Joonas Korpisalo made 33 saves to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of their best-of-five qualifying series Sunday and a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ main draw.

The win at Toronto earned the Blue Jackets a best-of-seven first-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which finished 2-1-0 in round-robin play among the top four Eastern Conference teams.

Zach Werenski, Liam Foudy and Nick Foligno each scored a goal for the Blue Jackets.

Toronto’s defense, trying to clear the zone, put the puck right on Werenski’s stick, leading to the opening goal. Werenski fired a shot from the point, through traffic and past Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen at 6:29 of the first period to put the Blue Jackets on the scoreboard.

The Maple Leafs struggled in the first period to match the aggressive play they mustered in the final five minutes of Game 4, which ended up forcing the deciding game. They wilted in the face of an aggressive Blue Jackets forecheck and gave up the puck on unforced errors.

The Leafs had a few opportunities, including a wide-open net for John Tavares, but they failed to capitalize with the season on the line.

Tavares, who finished with five shots on goal, was on the doorstep several times in the second period too, but Korpisalo turned away every shot. Auston Matthews led the Leafs with six shots.

Foudy added the insurance goal at 11:40 of the third period with the Leafs on a sloppy line change. Gustav Nyquist fired the puck into the Leafs offensive zone and Foudy picked it up in the corner. He ripped a wide-angle shot at the net that made it through Andersen to put the Blue Jackets up 2-0.

Foligno logged his goal with 23 seconds left, scoring on the empty Leafs net.

Andersen faced 21 shots from the Blue Jackets.

–Field Level Media

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