JGD 63: Are either of these teams #actuallygood?

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© Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets look to string a three-game win streak together in Toronto tonight, taking on the Maple Leafs at 6:30pm CT.

Winnipeg’s playoff hopes are all but done and dusted, but tonight is an opportunity to play spoiler and deal a huge blow to the Leafs’ already-dwindling playoff chances. It’s also another edition of the Patrik Laine vs Auston Matthews Hunger Games Calder show, so may the odds be ever yadda yadda yadda.

On paper, the Leafs and Jets have fairly similar lineups. Each has an unreasonable amount of young talent, particularly at forward, and are led by terrifyingly talented teenagers in Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews — tied for 28 goals apiece.

But the Leafs have turned the corner this year, and the Jets haven’t. The Leafs are on pace for 92 points, the Jets just 81. The Leafs have a 51.8 expected goals percentage, the Jets just 49.8. This despite a roster that — again, on paper — should be better than the Leafs, with veteran stars like Mark Scheifele, Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler.

The biggest differences between the two teams? Two jump to mind: 

  • Goaltending, where the Leafs have been adequately represented by newcomer Frederik Andersen and the Jets have been, as always, a dumpster fire.
  • And coaching, where the Leafs have the NHL’s consensus best coach and the Jets have… Paul Maurice.
  • (Hint: if you were running the Jets and trying to make the playoffs next year? You could probably start with those two things)

So, yeah — 6:30 CT. Jets vs Leafs.

JETS

LW C RW
Nikolaj Ehlers 
Nikolaj Ehlers
Bryan Little 
Bryan Little
Blake Wheeler 
Blake Wheeler
Mathieu Perreault 
Mathieu Perreault
Mark Scheifele 
Mark Scheifele
Patrik Laine 
Patrik Laine
Shawn Matthias 
Shawn Matthias
Adam Lowry 
Adam Lowry
Joel Armia 
Joel Armia
Chris Thorburn 
Chris Thorburn
Nicolas Petan 
Nicolas Petan
Drew Stafford 
Drew Stafford
Ben Chiarot 
Ben Chiarot
Dustin Byfuglien 
Dustin Byfuglien
Josh Morrissey 
Josh Morrissey
Jacob Trouba 
Jacob Trouba
Mark Stuart 
Mark Stuart
Paul Postma 
Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck 
Connor Hellebuyck
Michael Hutchinson 
Michael Hutchinson
  • Still no Andrew Copp, still no Tobias Enstrom.
  • And after receiving a two-game suspension, no Jacob Trouba, either! (I know that dailyfaceoff lineup suggests otherwise. Presumably that will get updated at some point).
  • That blueline group is going to be excruciating to watch.
  • I’m happy to see Perreault getting into a groove with Scheifele and Laine lately, but it might be nice to give Nic Petan some linemates at some point too, no? He’s been good, but there’s only so much that can be done between Thorburn and Stafford.

LEAFS

LW C RW
Leo Komarov 
Leo Komarov
Nazem Kadri 
Nazem Kadri
Josh Leivo 
Josh Leivo
James van Riemsdyk 
James van Riemsdyk
Tyler Bozak 
Tyler Bozak
Connor Brown 
Connor Brown
Zach Hyman 
Zach Hyman
Auston Matthews 
Auston Matthews
William Nylander 
William Nylander
Matt Martin 
Matt Martin
Ben Smith 
Ben Smith
Nikita Soshnikov 
Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly 
Morgan Rielly
Nikita Zaitsev 
Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner 
Jake Gardiner
Connor Carrick 
Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick 
Matt Hunwick
Roman Polak 
Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen 
Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney 
Curtis McElhinney
  • You know what the Leafs did when their backup goalie played badly this year? They went out and got someone else to do it. And he’s been good. Huh.
  • I love that the Leafs pretend Nylander/Matthews/Hyman are their third line
Enjoy!