Two teams in a very similar situation will face each other on Saturday night. Both the Winnipeg Jets (23-24-5) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (27-21-5) had their season-long win streaks come to an end on Thursday night, and they will both try to get back in the Win column against each other.
The Jets’ win streak was stretched to a season-high four games after a win in Anaheim, but the San Jose Sharks ended it with a 1-0 final score in California on Thursday. The Leafs’ seven-game win streak was the talk of the league, until the Dallas Stars blew Toronto up 7-1 in Dallas. The Jets hold a 4-2-1 record all-time against the Leafs, and were the winners of their most recent meeting, a 5-4 shootout final on March 16, 2013. The Leafs and Jets will battle again on April 5th, in the second game of a two-game season series.
The Jets will likely start Al Montoya in goal, as Ondrej Pavelec has played the last seven games for Winnipeg. Montoya, whose last outing was a 33-save loss in Pittsburgh on January 5th, has a .921% save percentage and a 2.31 GAA in 15 games this season. The Leafs’ goaltender is still unclear, after both were in goal agianst the Stars, and both played poorly. The likely candidate is Jonathan Bernier, who has a .925% save percentage and a 2.63 GAA in 37 games this season.
The Jets will bring the same roster they had in San Jose to the ice on Saturday, , meaning that Eric O’Dell will be in the press box in favour of James Wright, who has not scored this year. Wright scored one of his two goals in 2013 against the Maple Leafs. Both teams have four players on Injured REserve: The Leafs are missing Davicd Clarkson, Frazer McLaren, Trevor Smith, and Dave Bolland, while the Jets are without Grant Clitsome, Matt Halischuk, Paul Postma, and Jim Slater.
Head Coach Paul Maurice will face his former team for the first time as a member of the Jets on Satuday. Maurice had a 76-71-22 record over two seasons with the Leafs back in 2008, failing to reach the playoffs in either year. At the other end, Randy Carlyle will play against the Jets, in the city he played for in his playing days. Carlyle spent 10 seasons with the Jets, finally retiring as a member of the team in 1993.
The Jets hold a 12-10-4 record at home, winning five of their last 7 games at the MTS Centre. The Leafs hold a 10-11-4 record on the road, and are 11-8-1 against the Western Conference. Winnipeg is 11-9-1 vs. the East this season.
The game gets underway at 6 PM Central Time. You can see the game on Hockey Night in Canada, as well as listen live on TSN 1290 radio.