JETBLAST: TORONTO @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

Toronto Maple Leafs (27-21-5) at Winnipeg Jets (23-24-5) 6:00 p.m., MTS Centre TV: CBC, Radio: TSN 1290

The Jets and Leafs take center stage Saturday in the Manitoba capital when they face off in front of the nation on Hockey Night in Canada. Both teams took losses in their last game that broke long winning streaks. The Leafs dropped a 7-1 game to the Dallas Stars Thursday, ending a 6 game winning streak, while the Jets dropped a hard fought 1-0 game to the San Jose Sharks. Both teams will be looking to get back on track in front of a full house and a huge T.V. audience. Lets Go!

Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs may be the streakiest team in hockey. Rarely do the Leafs ping pong wins and losses, it is normally win 3 lose 4, win 5 lose 3, after they had a 6 game streak snapped Thursday they will try and break the trend and get back into the win column. The Leafs are led by captain Phil Kessel. Not only does Kessel lead the team with 52 points this season, he also has done very well against the Jets since their return to the league. He averages over a goal a game and has been a huge factor in every game. Currently Toronto is sitting in 5th place in the Eastern Conference, but only 3 points above 8. Though moving up into the top 3 in the East may be out of question for this team, if they do not play good hockey down the stretch they may find themselves on the outside looking in. Leafs fans may not be able to take the disappointment of another missed playoff date so some players may be playing for their jobs. This is the only visit the Blue and White have in Winnipeg this year so you know there will be an excited crowd, with a fair share of Leaf supporters, Toronto hopes to give them something to cheer about.

Jets

Paul Maurice finally suffered his first loss since he took over this job from Claude Noel. Though it was a disappointing game for both the Jets and their fans however, if you would have told them before the trip to California that they would have a combined 3-3 score and be 1-1 at least the fans would have probably been happy. Returning home they face a team that just got smoked and will probably be a little annoyed and have a little extra motivation. Saturday is day one of a back to back for Winnipeg so it will be interesting to see what Paul Maurice does with his goaltenders. Al Montoya should get his first start under the new coach at some point this weekend and I think it will be Saturday night. Sunday is a divisional match up with one of the best teams in the league, the Chicago Black Hawks, and the Jets will probably want their number 1 in the net that night. Either way the Jets netminder will need to be on his game if they want to shut down the Leafs sharp shooters.

Keys to the Game

Get Chances: Though the Jets earned a win over Anaheim they did not have many really good chances. Add that to being shutout 1-0 in San Jose the Jets need to figure out how to score and get pucks to the net.

Calder watch: Winnipeg has two players in Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba that may be Calder canidates, these two are key to the Jets success as well.

Play tough: The Leafs have some toughness in their lineup so the Jets must play with some fire and be just as tough, throw the body and don’t get pushed around.

Starting Goalies

Al Montoya (8-4-1) GAA: 2.31 SV% .921
James Reimer (10-6-1) GAA: 3.13 SV% .915

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out

Clarkson TOR, (elbow) out
Smith TOR, (hand) out
Bolland TOR, (ankle) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 4-6-0
Maple Leafs: 6-4-0

Prediction

Jets get back on track
Jets 4 Maple Leafs 1

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!