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Toronto Maple Leafs game preview: Welcome to Winnipeg

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The Maple Leafs are in Winnipeg to kick off the season against the Jets*

Winnipeg Jets v Toronto Maple Leafs

The NHL season begins today, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are kicking off season two of the new era against the Winnipeg Jets*, giving us our first taste of Leafs hockey against another up and coming team in the NHL. Two teams stocked with young, talented players are playing each other in a game that will make a statement on fans expectations to the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Winnipeg Jets
7:00PM - BellMTS Centre
Watch: Sportsnet, TVA Sports, NHL Live
Listen: TSN1050
SBN: Arctic Ice Hockey

Before we get into the game, let’s get to know our hosts a little bit, courtesy of The Beaverton:

Since the Jets* returned to Winnipeg, the team has made the playoffs once, got swept, and continued its steady hold on the middle of the Central Division. Every year many people predict that this is the year the Jets break out of their muddle and finally put those players like Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine to good use.

Goaltending and a fear of trades have been their Achilles heel these past few season, but a lack of success on the ice hasn’t kept the Winnipeg faithful away as they continue to sell out the teensiest NHL arena around.

The Jets have added Steve Mason as a back up in goal to Connor Hellebuyck, so if one flounders they’ll always have a solid choice to go to in net.

Meanwhile as the Jets floundered, the Maple Leafs took stock of their issues, tanked the year and rebuilt from scratch, finally making the playoffs last year, where they took the Washington Capitals to six games before falling on home ice.

Over the summer the Leafs looked to add veteran presence in the locker room and did so by signing Dominic Moore, Ron Hainsey, and Patrick Marleau. One of the biggest questions is if Marleau can continue his solid play and pace from his time in San Jose.

Now that Leafs Nation has had a taste of playoffs and we won’t settle until we get more, and it all begins tonight.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lines

Based on the practice yesterday.

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Matt Martin - Eric Fehr - Connor Brown

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman - Connor Carrick

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Winnipeg Jets* Lines

From Leftwinglock:

Forward Lines

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Patrik Laine

Brandon Tanev - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia

Marko Dano - Shawn Matthias - Nicolas Petan

Defence Pairings

Joshua Morrissey - Jacob Trouba

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov - Tyler Myers

Goaltenders

Steve Mason - assumed starter

Connor Hellebuyck

Last year the Leafs and Jets played each other twice and split the series with one win each. Funnily enough, both games went to overtime, and the final score was 5-4 each time.

Pre-game reading

Leafs Money on the Board has Maple Leafs fans coming together for a good cause

Toronto Maple Leafs 2017 opening day roster with cap hits

Toronto Maple Leafs 2017-2018 standings and playoff predictions

We predict the 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs season

SB Nation NHL Preview

This is it Maple Leafs fans! The night we’ve all been waiting for! Buds all day and

GO LEAFS GO!