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Nick Foligno starts out on top as the Leafs face the Jets for two games

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Top-line Nick and other changes to the lineup should make for an interesting game.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Winnipeg Jets

Game #47
7:00 p.m. ET Thursday on Sportsnet
Update: Leafs win 4-3

Game #48
7:00 p.m. ET Saturday on CBC, Sportsnet Regional Stations and NHL Network

SB Nation Opponent’s site: Arctic Ice Hockey

The Maple Leafs are back playing tonight, this time stopping in Manitoba for two games against the Jets. There have been a lot of schedule changes recently, and this particular one worked out in the favour of Leafs fans in Ontario. These two games were originally scheduled to be at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday and Friday, but are now set for tonight and Saturday. The Leafs had their appearance on Hockey Night in Canada last Saturday cancelled, with the game against the Canucks moved to Sunday. Now they get one back on national TV. Let’s hope they don’t blow it.

Speaking of those games against the Canucks, and of blowing games, the Leafs are still reeling over those two straight losses to what is a notionally inferior team. The game on Tuesday night with backup-backup goalie David Rittich in net being a particular needling as they blew a 3-1 lead to lose 6-3.

However, on Thursday the Maple Leafs get a big shot in the arm to vaccinate against any bad goaltending with defensive minded forward Nick Foligno; at least that’s how he was advertised. The efficacy of his capabilities will be on full display for our analysis in the next two games.

Where he will be permanently placed in the lineup is still up in the air, but whomever he plays with, you can expect every one of his shifts on the ice tonight to be examined and picked apart in detail over the next 48 hours.

Projected Leafs Lines

UPDATE: Lines used in Thursday’s Game

Forwards
Nick Foligno — Auston Matthews — Mitch Marner
Alex Galchenyuk — John Tavares — William Nylander
Pierre Engvall — Alex Kerfoot — Wayne Simmonds
Joe Thornton — Adam Brooks — Jason Spezza

Defence
Morgan Rielly — T.J. Brodie
Jake Muzzin — Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin — Travis Dermott

Goaltenders
Jack Campbell (confirmed starter for Saturday)
David Rittich

Projected Jets Lines

UPDATE: Lines used in Thursday’s Game

Forwards
Kyle Connor — Mark Scheifele — Blake Wheeler
Paul Stastny — Pierre-Luc Dubois — Nikolaj Ehlers
Andrew Copp — Adam Lowry — Mason Appleton
Mathieu Perreault — Nate Thompson — Trevor Lewis

Defence
Josh Morrissey — Tucker Poolman
Derek Forbort — Neal Pionk
Jordie Benn — Dylan Demelo

Goaltenders
Connor Hellebuyck (starter for Saturday to be determined)
Laurent Brossoit


The Leafs could very well face the Jets for a North Division title series, which is a scary thought, but then all the possible opponents for such a series are scary. However, the Jets induce that little extra bit of anxiety from having a goalie that would sit in the top three of the league on anyone’s list, if not at number one.

There’s ten games and three weeks left in the regular season for the Leafs. Their final game is now scheduled for May 14. No one is suggesting the Leafs will miss the playoffs, but, keeping that first place slot would be nice.