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The Winnipeg Jets have won eight of their last ten games.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have won four of their last six games.
The Maple Leafs beat the Jets 4-1 in their first matchup.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Toronto Maple Leafs
29-15-1 (1st in Central Division)
27-11-7 (2nd in Atlantic Division)
Kyle Connor (54)
Mitchell Marner (54)
Mark Scheifele (26)
William Nylander (24)
Josh Morrissey (41)
Mitchell Marner (38)
Josh Morrissey (10)
Timothy Liljgren (19)
Kyle Connor (3.36)
Shots (Per Game)
Auston Matthews (4.21)
The Winnipeg Jets will travel east to face the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time this season. The Maple Leafs dismantled the Jets 4-1 when they faced each other in October. The Jets struck first, but the Maple Leafs proceeded to rattle off four straight goals.
The Jets are the Western Conference’s best team with 59 points. However, they can lose sole control of the spot with a loss in regulation and a Dallas Stars victory. Their opponents, the Maple Leafs, are in second place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points. They are 11 points out of first place but only four points out of third place. A win today would cement that second-place spot.
The Jets have surprised many people this season. Their offense is right outside of the top ten and has a few impressive scorers. Defensively, they are even more impressive and have the NHL’s second-best defense. Winnipeg is full of competent defensemen and allows less than 2.6 goals a game.
The Jets have three impressive goal-scorers in Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Mark Scheifele. Connor is the most well-rounded player in this group, but each of these three has at least 20 goals.
Connor Hellebuyck and David Rittich are the two Jets’ goaltenders. Rittich plays significantly less than Hellebuyck but is a solid backup and has a .908 save percentage.
The Maple Leafs will likely make the Playoffs for the seventh season in a row. Their offense is just as productive as the Winnipeg offense, but their defense is a touch worse. With that being said, the Maple Leafs’ defense is still very impressive and ranks in the top five.
The Maple Leafs also have three 20+ goal scorers in John Tavares, Auston Matthews, and William Nylander. These all shoot well and are dangerous with the puck. It is also worth noting that Mitchell Marner is their most productive player but has less than 20 goals. Marner may be more dangerous than all three of these players.
Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov make up the Maple Leafs’ goaltender platoon. They perform at nearly the same level and are both solid options in the net.
These teams are evenly matched, but the Maple Leafs are dominant at home. Toronto comes into this game with a 16-3-4 record at the Scotiabank Arena and has won their previous three home games. Bet on Toronto.
The Jets are the underdogs but will win if they have strong goaltending and slow down the Mithchell Marner.
The Jets have an impressive goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck. However, I do not expect him to be an All-Star this season, even though he plays like one. His 22 wins are the second-most in the NHL, and his .924 save percentage is the fifth-highest. Usually, Hellebuyck performs at a high level, but he will face a tough Maple Leafs team today. The 29-year-old needs to step up his game more than usual as he goes up against a Maple Leafs squad with plenty of offensive options.
Mitchell Marner has been the Maple Leafs’ top performer this season. He does not lead the team in goals but leads the Maple Leafs in assists (38) and points (54). Marner also plays over 21 minutes. The Jets’ defensemen must be aware of him at all times and not let him hold the puck for too long.
The Maple Leafs are the favorites and will win if they draw penalties and score first.
The Maple Leafs and the Jets have basically the same power-play unit. They both convert with a man advantage over 24% of the time. However, the Maple Leafs draw more penalties and have a few more power-play goals than the Jets. Since these teams are evenly matched, the difference between a win and a loss can be the power play unit. This unit needs to get on the ice and score at least once.
The Maple Leafs have a home-ice advantage, which will be significant to their success tonight. However, they can get the crowd even more on their side if they score first. In addition, the team that scores first wins about ⅔ of the time.
Mark Scheifele is a goal-scoring machine for the Jets. He leads the Jets in goals with 26 and converts over 22% of his shots.
Scheifele needs to provide offense in this game and score at least once. He has not scored in a couple of games, so he is due for a goal today.
Auston Matthews continues to impress. The 25-year-old has 22 goals and 27 assists and plays over 20 minutes a game. Matthews, like Schiefele, needs to score a goal tonight. If he does not, he at least needs to finish with an assist.
What - Winnipeg Jets vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Where - Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
When - Thursday, January 19, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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