Preview: Matthews, Laine Renew Apparent Rivalry

The Winnipeg Jets are set to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday in their final meeting of the season. While it’s simply a fabricated rivalry (to this point), the Auston Matthews-Patrik Laine storyline will surely be front and centre when the two take to the ice.

Winnipeg Jets, Mark Scheifele, NHL
Mark Scheifele is on pace to have a career year and has established himself as a top-line player for the Jets. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That being said, there are a number of other storylines that will come into play in this matchup. Mark Scheifele and Nazem Kadri are continue their torrid paces – both looking to set career marks in offensive categories.

The Jets will have to get the job done without Jacob Trouba who will sit for the first of a two-game suspension following a hit to the head of Ottawa’s Mark Stone. While the Leafs will have to keep trudging along without Mitch Marner, who will miss his third game after falling into the boards awkwardly against Columbus.

On top of that, there is the discussion of the Calder race. Laine leads the rookie scoring race, but Matthews has done a terrific job with rookie line mates and better success at even strength. So, there are aspects of the race that some might not look at. Instead, most judging the race from the outside will simply discuss point totals.

That being said, both players will likely be happier to get the win rather than focusing on individual marks as their teams fight towards locking down a playoff spot in two very tight races.

Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs

Air Canada Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – TSN4 and TSN3

2016-17 Season Series:
October 19 – Jets 5 – Maple Leafs 4 (OT)

Winnipeg Jets – 28-29-5 – 61 Points

Road Record: 14-15-4

Hot Players: Patrik Laine, Joel Armia and Mark Scheifele

Key Injuries: Marko Dano, Toby Enstrom, Tyler Myers, Ondrej Pavelec, Drew Stafford and Andrew Copp

Projected Lines:


Nikolaj Ehlers-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault-Mark Scheifele-Patrik Laine

Shawn Matthias-Adam Lowry-Joel Armia

Chris Thorburn-Nicolas Petan-Drew Stafford


Ben Chiarot-Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey-Julian Melchiori

Mark Stuart-Paul Postma


Connor Hellebuyck (expected)

Toronto Maple Leafs – 27-20-11 – 65 Points

Home Record: 14-10-4

Hot Players: Nazem Kadri, Auston Matthews and Josh Leivo

Key Injuries: Mitch Marner and Joffrey Lupul

Projected Lines:


Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-Josh Leivo

James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Connor Brown

Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-William Nylander

Matt Martin-Frederik Gauthier-Nikita Soshnikov


Morgan Rielly-Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak


Frederik Andersen

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Both Matthews and Laine are on relatively hot streaks as of late. Over the past seven games, Laine has five goals and nine points. Over that same span of games, the Maple Leafs’ star has four goals and six points. That’s not bad for two first-year players.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL
Arguably a made-up rivalry, Matthews will look to help his Leafs to a big win against Laine and his Jets. (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]With the Florida Panthers win on Monday, the Leafs fell out of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. While it might be temporary, the Leafs’ 4-4-2 record over their past 10 games doesn’t help their recent drop in the standings.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]On the other hand, the Jets 5-4-1 record over their last 10 contests isn’t much better. Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Jets sit behind the Flames and Predators for contention in the Western Conference’s wildcard race.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]While the Leafs lost their first meeting of the season, the Leafs control the all-time series with a record of 29-18-1-8 in 56 games. They’ve out scored the Jets 194 to 156 over that span.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Leafs recalled Frederik Gauthier – who has two goals and three points in 18 games this season for the club. He’ll step in on the fourth line replacing Ben Smith down the middle.

Both clubs will be looking for a big two points when the puck drops on this one. The Leafs are looking to jump back into a playoff spot, while the Jets are fighting their way to a Western Conference wildcard. It should be an exciting game with both teams showcasing speed and talent throughout their lineups.