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KEEFE TO MAKE ONE LINEUP CHANGE AHEAD OF GAME TWO AGAINST COLUMBUS

With game one of the Leafs/Blue Jackets qualifying round series in the books, there seems to be a lot of unrest among the Leafs "faithful" on social media. The simple fact is that until Cam Atkinson's shot found its way past Frederik Andersen in the third period, it was really anyone's game.

A lot had been made of this series prior to puck drop in game one, with several questions being asked - not the least important of which was "will the Jackets be able to stifle the Leafs' potent offense?". Well, the answer to that question is, apparently, yes. They can.

The Jackets did give up some quality scoring chances in the contest, but for the most part, the Columbus defense did manage to keep the Leafs to the outside and limit the high-danger scoring chances, and Korpisalo was sharp when he needed to be.

Ahead of Tuesday's game two, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe looks to be running with the same lineup, save one small change - Pierre Engvall looks to be in, with Freddie Gauthier coming out. The move itself, while moderately insignificant may serve the Leafs well, as Engvall is the more offensive-minded of the two.

A lot has been made of Gauthier's responsible two-way play, but the former first-round draft pick (21st overall in 2013) leaves a lot to be desired in the way of point-production, as is evidenced by his career-high 14 points in 70 games played in 2018-19. Engvall's 15 points in 2019-20 may not look much better, but the fact that those 15 points came over a 48-game span would indicate that the towering Swede has a little more to offer in a series where it looks like the Leafs will require more production from their bottom-six in a series where the Columbus defense looks to be very capable of shutting down the Leafs' main point producers.

Engvall looks to be assuming the center role on a line with Kyle Clifford and Jason Spezza, as opposed to his typical position on the wing.

MIKE ARMENTI
AUGUST 3, 2020  (19H56)
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