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Toronto Maple Leafs game preview: Clash of the Canadian playoff teams

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The two best teams out of a group of seven are playing each other and national rivalries or stuff like that.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Every year in the playoffs, people discuss, argue, and debate which team all Canadians should rally around and cheer for in the NHL playoffs. Now these teams must be based in a Canadian city, because our national pride rests on a corporation made up of people from countries all over the world, like certain a Brazilian owned coffee company.

This year there are only two teams in Canada making the playoffs: The century old Toronto Maple Leafs, winners of 13 Stanley Cups who sell out arenas all over the continent making all 30 other arenas home games for the Leafs. The other, a young franchise who was unwanted by anyone but the TRUE NORTH hockey corporation and moved them into an AHL arena, a franchise that has never, ever, EVER, won a playoff game.

This is it. The winner is the one true Canadian playoff team, the loser, cast off and ignored unless it’s the Jets* because TV producers love to whack off to their story and fans.

Winnipeg Jets* at Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00PM - Air Canada Centre
Watch: CBC, Sportsnet, CBC.ca, Sportsnet Now, NHL Live
Listen: TSN1050, Sportsnet590
SBN: Arctic Ice Hockey

The Maple Leafs are setting another storybook season, aiming to go farther than six games into round one. The Jets* are looking for their first ever playoff victory in franchise history. In the Leafs past five games, they’ve won them all except to the damn Buffalo Sabres. The Jets* past five games were either a loss to an accountant or eeking out victories in over time or shootouts. For such a lauded team, not being able to close out a win without extra time doesn’t give me any confidence that they are the team to carry our nation’s flag into battle or whatever is supposed to happen.

Toronto Maple Leafs lines

Leo Komarov is a game-time decision

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Andreas Johnsson - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak

Curtis McElhinney - starter
Frederik Andersen

Winnipeg Jets* Lines

Kyle Connor - Mark Schiffle - Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers - Paul Statsny - Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perrault - Bryan Little - Joel Armia
Andrew Copp - Adam Lowry - Brandon Tanev

Josh Morrissey - Tyler Myers
Joe Morrow - Dustin Byfuglien
Ben Chiarot - Tucker Poolman

Connor Hellebyuck
Eric Comrie

The Jets* have firepower upfront and Hellebyuck is having an amazing season, considering they were looking to have Steve Mason be the starter this year.

Numbers Preview

Maple Leafs Team Devils
Maple Leafs Team Devils
265GF - 226GA - +29 Goal Differential 238GF - 234GA - +4
24.4% - 2nd overall Power Play 21.7 - 10th overall
81.3% - 12th overall Penalty Kill 81.9% - 7th overall
James van Riemsdyk - 36 Most Goals Taylor Hall - 39
Mitch Marner - 47 Most Assists Taylor Hall - 54
Mitch Marner - 69 Most Points Taylor Hall - 93
Matt Martin - 50 Most PM Miles Wood - 84
Jake Gardiner - 22:33/G TOI Leader Sami Vatanen - 22:42
Frederik Andersen - .917sv% Starting Goalie Keith Kincaid - .911sv%

Many people are hyping up tonight as a preview for the Stanley Cup Final. I, for one, do not wish this to be true as I do not want our Maple Leafs players stabbed when they get off the bus they had to take to the game. It’s bad enough they have to bus in from Thunder Bay, the nearest airport, but to then be stabbed and have the buss stolen would mar the Cup victory.

Go Leafs Go!