COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 in a decisive Game 5 of the qualifying round on Sunday to advance to the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Liam Foudy scored his first NHL goal while Joonas Korpisalo shut out the Leafs for a second time in four games to help the Jackets clinch the series.
Before the game, CBJ head coach John Tortorella said rookie goalkeeper Elvis Merzlikins got injured in Game 4, which the Blue Jackets lost 4-3 in OT after blowing a 3-0 lead with less than five minutes left in the 3rd period.
Joonas Korpisalo started in net for the first time since Game 3 when he was replaced by Merzlikins. In that game, the Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.
The 26-year-old Korpisalo responded to being benched by saving 33 shots in just his fourth career playoff game.
Zach Werenski, who missed the end of Game 4 with an injury, scored the first goal of the game six minutes and 29 seconds into the first period.
Werenski buried a long point-shot in the upper right corner, which deflected off a Leafs’ defender thanks to a well-placed block by CBJ’s Boone Jenner.
Werenski is the fifth Blue Jackets’ defenseman to score a goal with the team facing elimination.
Liam Foudy gave the Jackets some breathing room in the 3rd period when the rookie scored his first career NHL goal with eight minutes left in the third period.
The 18th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft came close to scoring several times throughout the series and finally found the back of the net on this impressive shot:
Nick Foligno capped off the series with an empty net goal to give his team the 3-0 win.
The Jackets will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. CBJ beat the No. 1 ranked Lightning in 2019 giving CBJ its first playoff series win in franchise history.