JETBLAST: Game Day Preview Feb. 7/12 Jets vs Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets

(28-19-6) 62 points (24-24-6) 54 points

7th in East, 2nd in Northeast

10th in East, 3rd in Southeast

Maple Leafs

Toronto has faced the Jets three times winning both games at the ACC in Toronto and dropping the New Years Eve game in Winnipeg. They currently sit in 7th place 8 points up on the Jets, 1 point ahead of Ottawa and 4 points ahead of the Washington Capitals. After three straight victories including a 5-0 shut out in the battle of Ontario they trail the New Jersey Devils by only 1 point and look to leap-frog them with a win in Winnipeg.

Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupel sit fourth and fifth in league scoring with 57 and 55 points respectfully. The top Jet is Blake Wheeler at 80th with 35 points. Both goaltenders have struggled at time but have been playing well as of late with Reimer off the shutout over the Sens and Penguins in back to back games.

Jets

The Jets return to the friendly confines of the MTS Center tonight after a six game trip that resulted in a 2-4-0 record. The Jets have played well at home this year and hold one of the top home records in the league. However the first game back after a long trip has been horrible.

The Jets have 28 games remaining with 16 of those at home. Considering their road record if they are to make the post season they have to be near perfect at home. They draw the defending Stanley cup Champions at home in the second game of a back to back and the unbeatable (for the Jets) Rangers at home as well. Anything but 14 wins at home and the playoffs are out of reach.

That was the long way of saying tonight is a must win game for Winnipeg. In fact the Jets need to win three out of every four game set. That should be their focus to break the remaining 28 games into 7 series of 4.

Keys to Victory

Use the home crowd to get some energy back in their game. They have got to get the fans into it and keep the Leafs out of it.

Score goals, the Jets need to find a way to score more than a goal a game average as they have been since the break.

Shut down Kessel and Lupel. Keeping them off the score sheet should result in victory.

Ondrej needs to be the giant, the team is not going to score a ton of goals so he has to take away a few goals from the Leafs to keep his team in the game.

Capitalize on the power play. The Leafs have been brutal on the kill and Winnipeg needs to take advantage of that. The man advantage was the main reason the Jets walked away with the win on New Years Eve.

Injuries

Tim Stapleton (lower body) out
Evander Kane (concussion) playing

Starting Goalies

Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (18-18-6, 2.74, .911) [Confirmed]
Maple Leafs – Jonas Gustavsson (16-10-1, 2.77, .909) [Unconfirmed]

Prediction

Like last game against the Habs was a game the Jets should have won, so to is tonight’s game. The difference is that tonight the Jets return home. The first game at home has traditionally been a stinker after a long road trip so I wouldn’t blame anyone for predicting a loss in this game.

I feel however that while the team will look sluggish at times Ondrej the Giant will not. The Jets MVP will be so once again being unbeatable and saving the day. Add in a couple of fortunate bounces and the home crowd will go home happy tonight.

Winnipeg Jets 2 – Toronto Maple Leafs 0

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of winnipegwhiteout.com and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.