Nick Foligno, the Toronto Maple Leafs big trade deadline aquisition made his Maple Leafs debut after his seven day quarantine ended just in time for him to make the trip to Winnipeg.
Foligno started his Leafs career on a line with Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews and the trio did well to start the game as Marner sent up Matthews the puck and Auston would score his 34th goal of the season just 27 seconds into the game.
The second line takes the ice and Wayne Simmonds scores his seventh of the season.
A couple minutes later Andrew Copp snags the puck in the neutral zone, and the Jets* go on the attack, skating around the offensive zone and it finds its way to Mark Schieffle who takes advantage of a poorly defended turnover, and scores to bring the Jets* back within one.
After four minutes, it’s 2-1 Maple Leafs.
Both team keep trying to put more past the goalies, Engvall and Simmonds almost team up for the Leafs third, but to no avail.
Engvall nearly set up Simmonds for his second pic.twitter.com/eMAByEqSkR— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 22, 2021
Then we get another sloppy defensive play by the Leafs, another turnover, and another Jets* goal. This time from Andrew Copp. 2-2.
The Maple Leafs don’t back down though, and Joe Thornton busts his slump and puts the Maple Leafs ahead again. 3-2 Toronto.
The Jets* pull Connor Hellebyuck from the net and replace him with Laurent Brossoit after this goal. That goal by the way makes Joe Thornton the oldest Maple Leaf to ever score a goal.
Until it isn’t. The goal is reviewed as the game goes on and it gets changed and awarded to Jason Spezza.
The Maple Leafs don’t let up on the Jets* and continue to put pressure on them offensively and physically.
Galchenyuk's shoulder check connects with the side of Lowry's head pic.twitter.com/zcTvy9V0qw— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 22, 2021
The Jets* are also keeping offensive pressure up and forcing the Leafs defence to....defend.
Pierre-Luc Dubois crashes the net and Jack Campbell to end the Jets* offensive challenge, and Wayne Simmonds goes after him, defending his goalie.
"Are you f--king kidding me! I don't give a f--k!" pic.twitter.com/Al6o83VI5s— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 22, 2021
Wayne Simmonds is called for roughing on the play and the Jets* get a power play that overlaps the break.
The third period ends with the Maple Leafs leading 3-2.
Opening the second on the power play, the Jets* don’t come close to taking advantage of their extra forward. Adam Lowery did not begin the period with the Jets* after the hit from Galchenyuk, and it is later announced he will not return.
The Maple Leafs do better at even strength of generating chances than the Jets* did on the power play, with John Tavares leading the way:
John Tavares casually ending Morrissey pic.twitter.com/nXfsg5MlIW— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Alex Kerfoot and William Nylander also team up and come close to putting the Leafs ahead by two but a quick poke by the stick of Brossoit keeps the pass from reaching Nylander.
William Nylander gets the rush started and heads right to his office pic.twitter.com/5PKGpQhM3u— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Pierre-Luc Dubois gets called for slashing Justin Holl and the Maple Leafs get their first power play of the game. The Maple Leafs have a hard time keeping the puck in the zone during this power play. The fault for that goes everywhere, from the Jets* defense to the Leafs not catching passes, to the saves deflecting the puck out of the rink. No goal for the Leafs.
Halfway through the period the game is still 3-2, with both teams playing better, or worse if you love goals, and keeping plays more clean than they were 20 minutes ago. However there are chances for both teams but no one connects until Foligno, Matthews, and Marner force a sloppy play into the Jets* end and Marner scores, making it 4-2 Maple Leafs:
Kyle Connor works hard to try and cut that lead, with a couple perfect positions and nice plays and eventually he gets into the right position for a pass as he’s undefended in front of the net and he scores to make it 4-3.
Another minute plays and the second ends, 4-3 for Toronto.
The Maple Leafs come out strong in the third period, with Nick Foligno almost scoring via an Auston Matthews screen, but Brossoit makes the save.
Foligno sets Matthews up for a deflection pic.twitter.com/pc3aahOW6Q— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
After that William Nylander walks into the Jets* zone but hits a post. Lots of almosts and close calls early in the third.
There are two other little used Leafs in this game, with Rasmus Sandin and Adam Brooks getting into the line up. Sandin is auditioning for more games down the stretch and Brooks is playing in front of friends and family from the Winnipeg area.
Good support by Brooks to help Sandin out here pic.twitter.com/LneGeUyd3u— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Sandin finds Brooks from deep in the zone— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Goes for the pass instead of shooting pic.twitter.com/501Mieddnn
Jack Campbell makes a huge save to keep the Leafs ahead, but the Jets* get an advantage soon...
The Jets* get their second power play of the game after Joe Thornton shoulder checks Mathieu Perrault in the head and gets called for interference. The Maple Leafs penalty kill does a good job keeping the Jets* chances low and off the board going 2-2.
The Leafs continue to try and get Matthews a second goal, this time John Tavares is there to get the assist.
another Matthews chance this time from Tavares pic.twitter.com/up9h4tcnhE— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
A big scramble in from of Jack Campbell is a bit worrying but no goal and the Leafs clear it away. Blake Wheeler skates slowly away from the scene and is looking injured on the bench. He would be the third Jet* injured by the Leafs, with Mathieu Perrault not returning after his hit from Thornton.
Adam Brooks seems extra motivated to have a good game for the fans he has around the city:
Blake Wheeler does return to play, the third time was not the charm it seems.
There was a bit of an argument from the Jets* that this play by Marner was interfering with the play, but it’s ruled that the puck was over the boards before it hit the stick.
Tavares, Matthews and Nylander were all in sync there pic.twitter.com/2kyjBvsLhK— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Love this entire sequence— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Foligno finds Marner along the wall. Matthews (who makes he's onside) heads to the net and nearly gets another deflection pic.twitter.com/LFe2U9M89s
The Jets* pull the goalie and have Dubois out as the sixth man, but Jack Campbell and the Leafs defence build a wall to keep the puck out of the net for the final few minutes of the game.
Campbell has his eye on the puck— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
Gloves the puck down pic.twitter.com/GbbNij7YXA
The Leafs get the puck out of their end, and Nick Foligno battles along the boards towards the empty net, but instead of shooting with a man on him he passes to Mitch Marner who easily taps the puck in the net. Foligno makes his first point as a Leaf an assist. What a nice guy.
Mitch Marner gets the empty netter— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 23, 2021
First Leafs point for Nick Foligno pic.twitter.com/eLTyvSRQzN
The Toronto Maple Leafs win the game 5-3 in a much cleaner, watchable game than we saw against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Maple Leafs next game is Saturday night against this very same team.