Today is the final home game for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they play the Winnipeg Jets*. Including tonight they only have four more home games , and thirteen games in total remaining (if the games vs the Vancouver Canucks continue as scheduled). Four of these games are against the team right behind the Leafs in the North Division standings, the Winnipeg Jets*.
Toronto Maple Leafs game 44
Opponent: Winnipeg Jets*
Where: Scotiabank Arena
Watch: NHL.tv, TSN Direct, TSN 4, TSN 3
Listen: 680 CJOB
Opponent: Arctic Ice Hockey
The Toronto Maple Leafs are running away with the North Division. Barring a major collapse and losing streak to end the season they should win it. The Top three teams are:
Toronto Maple Leafs - 43 GP - 60 Pts - .698 Pts%
Winnipeg Jets* - 43 GP - 55 Pts - .640 Pts%
Edmonton Oilers - 42 GP - 52Pts - .619 Pts %
The Maple Leafs don’t play the Oilers anymore this season, so that is out of their hands. They do how ever, play the Jets* four more times and if they win three of those games they would increase their lead to seven points - not including ay loser points - and it would be nearly impossible for the Jets* to catch up, especially since they have a few games vs the Oilers still to play and that will be some excellent position jockeying to watch.
This preview is only looking at tonight’s game, the rest of the games are away games next week. So, what should we expect tonight?
I really don’t know.
Helpful, yes, but with the way this team has been playing lately we don’t know which one we’ll get. Will we get the go go go team that loves to score and hates defence that we saw vs the Senators in a 6-5 win? Will it be the deadline day no will to win team vs the Canadiens from that 4-2 loss? Will it be the even tempered, kinda okay but not taking chances Leafs we saw in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Flames?
There is a pile of news today.
We do know that William Nylander is still out, awaiting one more negative test, which would allow him to join the team tomorrow. Nick Robertson is back but then the news gets bad:
Auston Matthews is out tonight. Sheldon Keefe calls him "day to day."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 15, 2021
Sheldon Keefe says the Matthews issue is similar to the hand/wrist injury from earlier, but not exactly the same— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 15, 2021
Stresses again that Auston isn't expected to miss much time
34 just testing it out this morning to see how he felt, which explains his quick cameo at the skate
The lines at morning skate were:
Lines at Leafs morning skate— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 15, 2021
Galchenyuk - Tavares - Marner
Mikheyev - Kerfoot - Hyman
Thornton - Engvall - Simmonds
Robertson - Brooks - Spezza@TSN_Edge
Defensive pairings are expected to be the same. and Jack Campbell will start. Remember, the Leafs cannot call anyone up from the Marlies, only the Taxi Squad because of COVID-19 shutdown and postponement of Marlies games.
What about the Jets*?
They haven’t lost a game since the Maple Leafs beat them in a 2-1 shootout on April 2nd. Now to be fair they’ve only play the Ottawa Senators (3 times) and the Montreal Canadiens (once, 5-0). They should have won those games, but as a Leafs fan I’m impressed they did it.
They only added Jordie Benn from the Canucks at the deadline, but he isn’t playing with them yet. Connor Hellebyuck is still a great goalie and is the biggest threat to the Maple Leafs in this game. They only time this season the Leafs really pumped the Jets* for goals was a 5-2 win and Laurent Brossoit was the starter.
Here’s how they stack up numerically.
|23GF - 21GA - +2||Goal Differential||21GF - 23GA - -2|
|16% - 11th||Power Play||22.6% - 7th|
|77.4% - 10th||Penalty Kill||84% - 6th|
|Auston Matthews - 4||Most Goals||Colton, Palat - 3|
|Mitch Marner - 5||Most Assists||Nikita Kucherov - 6|
|Auston Matthews - 8||Most Points||Nikita Kucherov - 8|
|Ilya Lyubushkin - 18||Most PM||Jan Rutta - 17|
|TJ Brodie - 22:44||TOI Leader||Victor Hedman - 25:45|
|Jack Campbell - .893sv%||Starting Goalie||Andrei Vasilevskiy - .885sv%|
The Jets* scoring is more evenly space throughout the team than the Leafs, but the biggest threat to Toronto tonight is the Maple Leafs only disastrously bad power play. The best defense the Jets* could have tonight is to constantly take penalties and let the Leafs power play continue to not get any shots on net.
Then they should get a power play of their own and the Leafs middling at best penalty kill will let them score.
Tonight the Leafs best hope is the refs put away the whistles, and they can win this game with 99% play in regulation.
With that I hope I pumped you up for the game.
Go Lets Go*!