NHL

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 - 7:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Maintaining a physical approach on the ice might be what the Columbus Blue Jackets need to overcome their terrible start.

Trying for a third straight home victory, the Blue Jackets hope their newfound aggressive style of play will be enough to slow down the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.

Unable to succeed with a finesse game, Columbus (2-9-1) used the body more and produced four fights while frustrating Anaheim in a 3-1 victory Sunday. The physical effort was similar to the Blue Jackets' first victory of the season, 4-1 over Detroit on Oct. 25.

Opponents are 0 for 8 on the power play against Columbus over the last two games.

"When we play with a little bit of any edge, when we play like we're pissed off, when we play in the hard areas and go there first ... that's usually when better things happen for us,'' coach Scott Arniel said.

The Blue Jackets hope that same approach will pay off against Toronto (8-3-1), second in the Eastern Conference and coming off a 5-3 win at New Jersey on Wednesday.

"We've got to come up with an identity and I don't think our identity is a skilled team that's going to win with finesse and talent,'' said Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, who scored his fourth goal of the season against the Ducks.

Columbus' biggest test could be trying to put a body on Toronto forward Phil Kessel, who padded his NHL points lead with two assists against the Devils. Kessel has 10 goals and 10 assists this season, and two goals with one assist in four career contests against the Blue Jackets.

Toronto is 5-1-2 with a tie all-time versus Columbus, but the lone loss in regulation came in the most recent meeting - a 3-2 home defeat Dec. 30. The Maple Leafs are 2-0-1 at Nationwide Arena.

Joffrey Lupul recorded his first hat trick since Dec. 12, 2007, on Wednesday to help the Maple Leafs move to 1-1 on a three-game trip.

"We have a lot of speed coming down the ice right now,'' said Lupul, who has eight goals this season after posting 14 for Anaheim and Toronto in 2010-11. "When we're skating like that, we're tough to handle. We might not be the most physical team around, but when we skate like this, we're tough to stop.''

It remains uncertain if Toronto's James Reimer will be back in net after missing the last five games because of whiplash. Reimer, 4-0-1 with a 2.58 goals-against average, has never faced the Blue Jackets.

"We'll see how he responds and feels," coach Ron Wilson told the Maple Leafs' official website.

If Reimer is unable to go, backup Jonas Gustavsson would be in line for his sixth consecutive start after making 19 saves Wednesday. Gustavsson stopped 29 shots in Toronto's loss to Columbus last season.

Whomever is in net Thursday will get a good look at Blue Jackets rookie forward Ryan Johansen, who is expected to remain with the club and play his 10th game of the season to trigger his entry-level contract that allows him to become a restricted free agent after 2013-14.

"I've been clawing away at every opportunity I get,'' said Johansen, who has two goals and two assists in his first nine games.

Columbus won three straight at home only once last season, from Oct. 25-Nov. 2, 2010.

Tagged: Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, James Reimer

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt