NHL

Columbus Blue Jackets Take Down Toronto, Maple Leafs Suffer Another Early Playoff Exit

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 11: The Columbus Blue Jackets celebrate a goal by Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 (2nd from left) against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 19:12 of the second period in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 11, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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After defeating Toronto in Game 5, the Columbus Blue Jackets have advanced to the first round of the NHL playoffs. The Maple Leafs have suffered yet another early playoff exit.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of their Qualifying Round matchup to advance to the First Round of the NHL Playoffs.

For the Blue Jackets, this marks the second consecutive year where they’ve pulled off a massive upset. Last year it was the Lightning. This year, the Maple Leafs. For Toronto, this marks the fourth consecutive year with an early playoff exit. They’ve been knocked out in the first round in the three years prior to this one.

Columbus will now face the Lightning in the first round for the second consecutive year. 

Where Does Toronto Go From Here?

The Maple Leafs will have to make some changes this offseason if they want to bring the Stanley Cup home anytime soon. Toronto has a plethora of free agents this offseason, with the most notable names being Tyson Barrie, Frederik Gauthier, and Travis Dermott. Veterans Jason Spezza and Kyle Clifford are also on that list.

The Maple Leafs are also expected to attend their goaltending situation. Although Frederik Andersen has been solid for the Leafs for the past four regular seasons, he’s struggled to help the club make a deep postseason run. He’s also 0-8 in his last eight series-clinching games. Despite another early playoff exit for Toronto, there is a silver lining; the chance to land Alexis Lafrenière.

The second phase of the draft lottery is tonight at 6 PM ET where we’ll find out who gets the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The Penguins, Rangers, Panthers, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Predators, Wild, and Jets all have a shot at landing the pick.

Each of these eight teams has a 12.5% chance of snagging the pick. 

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