Game #5 Preview - Leafs vs Jets

 

Coming off of their most disappointing game of the season Monday night, the Leafs will attempt to get back to winning ways tonight against the Winnipeg Jets. The Leafs struggled mightily against the Avs on Monday, and were lucky to earn a point in a game they had no business being in. On the same night that the Leafs lost in overtime to Colorado, the Jets were able to secure their first victory in fifteen years against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Having a 1-3 record with 14 goals against, it’s safe to say that Winnipeg has had a rough beginning to their comeback season. The Jets have also had a difficult time in the goal scoring department, only scoring seven goals in those four games. Note, Phil Kessel alone has six already this season for the Leafs. 
 
It’s expected that James Reimer will get the nod again tonight between the pipes. Many people assumed that with the Leafs facing the Boston Bruins tomorrow night in Boston that Jonas Gustavsson would play tonight, while Reimer would face the Bruins. Playing Reimer tonight in a classic trap game is a great move. First of all it demonstrates to the Leafs players that this game is just as important as tomorrow’s. Second, (assuming Gustavsson plays against the Bruins) having the backup in net, on the road, against the defending champs may make the Leafs step up their game tomorrow night. Jake Gardiner is also expected to return to the lineup tonight in place of the struggling Cody Franson. Gardiner’s speed and passing have been sorely missed in the two games he missed. 
 
Look for the Leafs offense to get back on track tonight against the defensively weak Jets. The Leafs scored 19 goals in four games against this Jets/Thrashers team last season, and the Grabovski/Kulemin/MacArthur line really dominated those games. Hopefully that line, and some of the other struggling scorers can break through tonight. Winnipeg are still waiting for their dynamic defenseman duo from last season of Tobias Enstrom (51 pts) and Dustin Byfuglien (53 pts) to lead the way offensively. 
 
Lineups
 
Leafs
 
Forwards
 
Kulemin – Grabovski – MacArthur
Lupul – Bozak – Kessel 
Frattin – Lombardi – Armstrong 
Brown – Steckel – Dupuis 
 
Defense 
 
Gunnarsson – Phaneuf 
Liles – Schenn
Gardiner – Komisarek 
 
Goalies 
 
Reimer 
Gustavsson 
 
Jets
 
Forwards 
 
Ladd – Little – Kane
Burmistrov – Antropov – Wheeler 
MacLean – Scheifele – Wellwood
Glass – Slater – Stapleton 
 
Defense 
 
Enstrom – Byfuglien 
Oduya – Jones 
Stuart – Bogosian
 
Goalies
 
Pavelic 
Mason 
 
Players to Watch 
 
Leafs: Jake Gardiner – Expect Gardiner to be flying tonight like he did in the preseason. Like the preseason, he’s going to have to force his way into this lineup. If young Jake struggles tonight he may be with the Marlies by the weekend. The Jets offer the perfect opposition for Gardiner to excel against.  
 
Jets: Andrew Ladd – The Jets captain will need to grab his struggling team in an attempt to get them going. Hopefully the two time cup champ continues his early season slumber against the Leafs. 
 
Game Time: 7:30 at the Air Canada Centre. TV – TSN. Radio – AM640