[UPDATE: Muzzin is out for the remainder of the series.]
For most of the opening 40 minutes, it looked at if Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo was going to steal another one against the Maple Leafs. After his 28-save Game 1 shutout, he followed that up by stopping 36 shots in Game 2, but the Columbus offense failed to provide any support.
Auston Matthews broke the goalless tie late in the second period as Toronto evened their best-of-five series with a 3-0 victory. Frederik Andersen, who wasn’t tested all that much, finished with 20 saves.
The Maple Leafs dominated across the board. They controlled possession (62%-38%), outshot the Blue Jackets at even strength (27-10) (via Natural Stat Trick), and benefited from the Blue Jackets handing them five power plays. But Korpisalo stood tall. Matthews finally provided the breakthrough after redirecting a Zach Hyman pass to finish a give-and-go.
Columbus’ penalty parade continued into the third period. Nick Foligno handed Toronto a power play just 53 seconds in. The Maple Leafs’ didn’t capitalize, going 0-for-5 on the day. The Blue Jackets were still clinging on to hope in finding a tying goal, but an offensive zone breakdown ended with an out-of-reach scoreline.
As the Blue Jackets pressed for an equalizer, all five skaters got caught in deep. That allowed Travis Dermott‘s clearance to go off the side boards and to an unmarked Tavares for a breakaway.
Said John Tortorella: “Toronto was really good. We sucked.”
Game 3 is Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Muzzin leaves on stretcher
With just under two minutes to go, Jake Muzzin had to leave the game on a stretcher. A cross-check from Pierre-Luc Dubois put the Maple Leafs defenseman off-balance and his head collided with Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s knee.
Muzzin was moving his extremities and communicating as he was being checked out.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Jake Muzzin,” said Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski. “No hockey game is as important as someone’s health so we’re thinking of him right now.”
“Very tough to see, especially with just how much you love that guy,” said Tavares afterward.
Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said Muzzin was taken to a local hospital and was responsive.
When Muzzin is ready to return, the Toronto Hub Medical Director will decide quarantine/testing protocols before he’s allowed to re-join the Maple Leafs.
“I’m not certain exactly what the protocol is in these situations,” said Keefe. “Our focus is and always will be on his well-being and that he’s okay.”
Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin was transported to hospital following an on-ice collision in the third period tonight. He is alert and able to move all limbs. Further updates will be provided once available.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 4, 2020
(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets (Series tied 1-1)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Maple Leafs 3, Blue Jackets 0
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*, TBD
• 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.