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.
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
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
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
[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.
[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.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.