Leafs Seek Revenge Against Jets
JETS (19-15-5) at MAPLE LEAFS (19-15-5)
TV: TSN-Jets; LEAFS TV
LAST 10: Winnipeg 6-3-1; Toronto 4-4-2
Season Series: The teams have split their two meetings this season. Winnipeg won 3-2 at home last Saturday, while the Leafs rallied from two goals down for a 4-3 shootout win at home on Oct. 19.
Big Story: The Jets continue their swing through Eastern Canada looking for a rebound after being routed 7-3 in Montreal on Wednesday. The Leafs had the day off to savor a 7-3 rout of Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The teams enter the game with the exact same record -- both are one point behind New Jersey for eighth place in the East,
Jets : After going 10-3-1 in December while playing 12 of 14 games at the cozy MTS Centre, the Jets looked nothing like the team that was coming off the best month in franchise history when they hit the road in Montreal on Wednesday night. They trailed just 3-2 after two periods before Montreal scored four times in the third period to turn the game into a 7-3 rout that left coach Claude Noel wondering what happened.
We didn't play with the same heart, determination, passion or the same fire that you played with the whole month before," Noel said. "You can't fake this thing."
Maple Leafs : Jonas Gustavsson was the beneficiary of the Leafs' offensive outburst against Tampa Bay. By winning, he's earned the chance to start against the Jets -- meaning that starter James Reimer will sit for a second straight game.
"Right now, I think the Monster gives us as good a chance to win (as James Reimer does)," coach Ron Wilson said after Leafs' practice on Wednesday.
"As long as he is winning, he is going to keep playing. If Reims goes in there and he gets hot, he is going to play. We need to win games."
Reimer is 3-4-3 since returning from a head injury. Gustavsson has split four games in that span -- but he's 7-3-0 in his last 10.
Who's Hot: Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler has four goals and five assists during a six-game points streak. … Joffrey Lupul has seven points in his last five games, including a four-point night against Tampa Bay.
Injury Report: Winnipeg is without defensemen Randy Jones (upper body), Dustin Byfuglien (lower body) and Derek Meech (lower body), as well as forwards Jim Slater (undisclosed) and Bryan Little (foot). … Toronto is also short several regulars, including forward Tyler Bozak (shoulder), forward Colby Armstrong and defenseman John-Michael Liles (concussion), forward Mike Brown (back) and defenseman Mike Komisarek (arm). The Leafs also placed forward Colton Orr on waivers.
Stat Pack: One area in which the Leafs continue to struggle is penalty-killing. They enter Thursday's games last in the NHL at 73.2 percent. They were also last in the League in 2010-11 and have been in the bottom five every season since 2006-07.
Puck Drop: The Leafs spent part of their Wednesday outdoors -- they held practice in front of 3,000 fans at Sunnydale Acres Park in Rexdale, Ont.
"Anytime you get to come out and practice outdoors it's pretty special," captain Dion Phaneuf said. "We enjoyed the day, I think it was great the support we had and it shows what kind of fans we've got and we have the best fans in the league. To come out on a day when it's minus-15 and have this many people out is pretty special to practice in front of."