The NHL returns on Saturday, August 1st, with their qualifying round and round-robin play. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a restart that will feature 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup. The top four teams in each conference are competing in round-robin play to finalize the top four seeds. The next eight teams are competing in five-game seeded play to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets will face off in Toronto starting Sunday. The Maple Leafs finished the abbreviated regular season with 81 points on a 36-25-9 record, which was good for the 8th seed. The Blue Jackets finished the abbreviated regular season with 81 points on a 33-22-15 record, which was good for the 9th seed.
The Leafs are hoping to get forward Andreas Johnsson back at some point in the playoffs, but it likely won’t be for the qualifying round as he finishes recovering from a knee injury. They did get him back skating on Thursday which is a big plus. They won their exhibition game against Montreal 4-2.
The Blue Jackets will get defenseman Seth Jones back after a February ankle fracture. They are also expected to have back leading goal-scorer Oliver Bjorkstrand and 20-year old reserve center Alex Texier. Columbus thumped Boston 4-1 in their exhibition game.
Below is a full rundown of the Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets series and how to watch it. The NBC games are all available at NBCSports.com/live.
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets series info
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 8 p.m. | NHLN, SN, TVAS, FS-O
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 4 p.m. | NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, FS-O
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, TBD
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*, TBD