Game #26 Vs. Maple Leafs – Start of the Home Swing

Toronto Maple Leafs (15-10-1) @
Your Winnipeg Jets (12-11-2)
Last Meeting:
February 7th, Jets 2 – Leafs 3
TV: TSN Jets
Puck Drop: 7:00 (CT)


The Jets return home tonight after a rather disappointing road trip that saw them go 2-1-1, and end up sitting practically in the same place in the standings as they did when they left. Now the Jets are in a position where getting points against a feisty Leafs team is critical.

I recently wrote a piece that highlighted the importance of the Jets last five games (this past road trip and the game against Washington before they left) if they wanted to make a good push to make the playoffs this season and I can’t help but feel as if they left a lot on the table. Games that originally felt as if they should have been wins against Washington and Florida turned out to be a pair of the Jets’ worst losses, and it is fair to say the team only really showed up for 3 or 4 periods over the entire road trip.

Regardless, the team has to continue to move forward as they start a stretch of five games against current playoff teams starting now with the fifth place Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite what almost any advanced stat says and with less than normal production from Phil Kessel, the Leafs have been successful this season under head coach Randy Carlyle and his defense first system. Both James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have been solid in goal, and young guns Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin and James van Riemsdyk have been great for the Leafs thus far.

The last time these two teams lined up to play, the Jets were near perfect for about 52 minutes, before collapsing in the final 8 to allow the Leafs to steal a win. Tonight marks chance to redeem that loss in early February, as well as kick off a turn around of a shocking home record of 4-6-0, as the Jets play six of their next eight games at the MTS Centre.

By the Numbers




5×5 GF/60



5×5 GA/60



Goals by Period

25 – 27 – 25

16 – 24 – 20

Fenwick (5×5 Close)

44.30 (28th)

50.44 (16th)










16.0% (25th)

21.3% (8th)

12.1% (28th)

14.6% (18th)


85.7% (11th)

83.3% (7th)

76.0% (28th)

77.4% (22nd)

Top Scorer

Phil Kessel

12GP, 3-8-11

Nazem Kadri

14GP, 7-7-14

Andrew Ladd

10GP, 7-4-11

Andrew Ladd

15GP, 6-7-13


Your Winnipeg Jets

Ladd  –  Little  –  Wheeler
Kane  –  Jokinen  –  Miettinen
Wright  –  Wellwood  –  Antropov        
Tangradi  –  Slater  –  Thorburn
Hainsey  –  Bogosian
Clitsome  –  Byfuglien
Stuart  –  Meech

Toronto Maple Leafs

Van Riemsdyk  –  Bozak  –  Kessel
MacArthur  –  Kadri  –  Komarov
Kulemin  –  Grabovski  –  Frattin
McLaren  –  McClement  –  Orr
Phaneuf  –  Holzer
Gunnarsson  –  Kotska 
Franson  –  Fraser

It will be interesting to see how Claude Noel decided to match up against the Leafs tonight, as the lines, along with many of the players who took part in the last match-up have changed greatly. What Claude did previously was match power line against power line, as the old line of Ladd, Burmistrov, and Little was up against the Kessel group for about half of the game.

Coach Noel kept his "thoughts to himself" today when asked about Burmistrov’s maturation process, and it may lead to him sitting out tonight’s matchup.  Meech will see the ice for his second game in a row, and it looks as if Thorburn will draw back in.

Coach’s Coaching


Be Ready to Go
This game is a scary mixture for the Jets. We always hear of that “trap” game when teams come off of extended road trips. Combine that with the Jets weak home record (4-6-0), the Leafs strong road record (9-5-0) and the stats displayed above, and you have a mixture for disaster should the Jets not come out ready to go.
Play a Full Game
The Leafs are a team that will not give up. This may not have been the case in the past, but this year they have a “never say die” mindset that has earned them many points. A perfect example of this was just this past Saturday against Pittsburgh where the Buds came back from an early 3-1 deficit to earn a point in a shootout loss, or even the last time these two teams matched up, when the Leafs came back and won in the final 8 minutes.


Draw Penalties
Nazem Kadri has been a penalty drawing machine this year. Should the Leafs get on the power play, the combination of a strong road PK% and a weak Jets penalty kill (at home and on the road, despite recent success) should lead to a win.
Jump on them Early
It’s simple. The Jets win games when they score first. Get on them and score early to take the crowd out of the game as much as possible, plant that seed of doubt, and force them to play comeback.