When: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (4-4-1 – 9th in East), Toronto Maple Leafs (5-5-0 – 7th in East)
Television/Radio: TSN-JETS, LEAFS TV/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight (7:00 p.m. CST, TSN-JETS, TSN 1290) the day after sending 2011 1st round draft pick Mark Scheifele back to the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts.
The Jets will look to build on Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers tonight against a Maple Leafs team which has won four of five games on the road this season. Toronto is currently without the services of Left Winger Joffrey Lupul who suffered a fractured forearm in late January. Lupul had a career year last season (67 points in 66 games) and was rewarded by his team before he suffered an injury with a 5 year, $26.5 million contract.
The Leafs are coming off a 3-2 road victory over the bottom-dwelling Washington Capitals, highlighted by a two-goal performance from American forward James van Riemsdyk. With injuries to mainstay defencemen Carl Gunnarsson and Jake Gardiner, Toronto Head Coach Randy Carlyle has relied on career AHLer Mike Kostka and 24-year-old German defenceman Korbinian Holzer, who scored his first career NHL goal on Tuesday night.
Jets d-man Dustin Byfuglien will miss his fourth straight game with a lower body injury (day-to-day) which means rookie defenceman Zach Redmond will start his fourth consecutive game.
Today’s game is the first of three meetings between the Jets and Maple Leafs this year. The two teams will meet next on Tuesday, March 12th in Winnipeg (7:00 p.m. CST). The third and final meeting of the season is in Toronto on Saturday, March 16th (6:00 p.m. CST).
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets tonight.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to tonight’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations (subject to change* before game time):
*as of Jets skate this morning, there are no expected lineup changes.
1st: Evander Kane- Olli Jokinen- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Andrew Ladd- Alexander Burmistrov- Bryan Little
3rd: Alexei Ponikarovsky – Nikolai Antropov- Kyle Wellwood
4th: James Wright- Jim Slater – Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom- Ron Hainsey
Mark Stuart- Paul Postma
Grant Clitsome- Zach Redmond
Toronto Maple Leafs: Nazem Kadri (3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points), James van Riemsdyk (6 goals, 1 assist, 7 points), Matt Frattin (5 goals, 2 assists, 7 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points), Blake Wheeler (4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points), Andrew Ladd (3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points)
Toronto Maple Leafs: Carl Gunnarsson (groin), Joffrey Lupul (forearm), Mike Brown (shoulder), Jake Gardiner (concussion)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (wrist), Antti Miettinen (upper body), Dustin Byfuglien (lower body)
Who’s Next: The Jets hit the road to play the Ottawa Senators this Saturday, February 9th (1:00 p.m. CST) and then return home for three straight games: versus Philadelphia Flyers (Tuesday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. CST), versus Pittsburgh Penguins (Friday, February 15, 7:00 p.m. CST) and versus Boston Bruins (Sunday, February 17, 2:00 p.m. CST)
QUICKIES…..Nik Antropov has the best Plus/Minus on the Jets at +2…..