We’re back! The NHL continues the 2019-20 playoff qualifiers after a four-month break and we’ll be here to capture all the action from every game.
Follow along here as Yahoo Sports NHL editor Arun Srinivasan keeps you posted on the key storylines, highlights, major injuries and anything else you need to know.
Blue Jackets eliminate Maple Leafs with shutout win
Let the referendum begin. The Toronto Maple Leafs will not qualify for the first round of the playoffs after being blanked by Joonas Korpisalo and the Columbus Blue Jackets, falling 3-0 in Sunday’s Game 5.
Toronto made adjustments, pairing John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner together and while they created enough chances for the risk to be warranted, none of them went in, most notably a Tavares shot that rang off the post with the cage wide open.
Zach Werenski opened the scoring as his point shot was deflected and beat Frederik Andersen for a 1-0 lead. Blue Jackets rookie Liam Foudy beat Andersen on a goal the Maple Leafs’ goaltender surely would like to have back, a weak goal that has often characterized his performances in big games.
For now, the top-heavy composition of the Maple Leafs’ roster will be subject to relentless debate. As for the Blue Jackets, they will square off against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a year after sweeping them in one of the most shocking upsets in NHL history.
Leafs activate Andreas Johnsson from IR, will play Game 5
On the brink of elimination, the Toronto Maple Leafs could have a welcome addition to the lineup.
Toronto activated Andreas Johnsson from injured reserve prior to Sunday’s do-or-die contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets, potentially adding a new wrinkle to the roster.
Johnsson was placed on IR on Feb. 16 with a knee injury, the result of a collision with Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen.
After some speculation about his status, Johnsson is pencilled in on the third line alongside Alexander Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev. We’ll see if it pays off.
Stars top Blues in shootout capture No. 3 position in West
It came down to a shootout but the Dallas Stars edged the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Sunday to capture the West’s No. 3 seed, completing the conference’s playoff picture. Dallas will face the Calgary Flames, while the defending champion Blues will take on the Vancouver Canucks.
Joe Pavelski scored in the final minute of the contest to tie the game off and after overtime didn’t produce a winner, Denis Gurianov won it for the Stars on with the lone shootout marker.
Capitals defeat Bruins to secure No. 3 seed
The playoff picture is beginning to take real shape after Sunday’s round-robin games. In Sunday’s first matchup, the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins to secure the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, and will now face the New York Islanders.
Tom Wilson’s third-period goal stood as the winner:
Boston lost all three games during the round-robin and as a result, will face Carolina in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins won that matchup handily, sweeping the young Hurricanes off the ice, but the Bunch of Jerks were the most impressive team through the first week and shouldn’t be slept on with Sebastian Aho leading a balanced scoring attack.
All we’re waiting on now in the East is the winner of the Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets series, who will play the No. 2 seed Lightning.
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