Leafs Take Aim At Visiting Jets
JETS (34-34-10) at MAPLE LEAFS (38-32-8)
TV: CBC, SN THE FAN 590
Last 10: Winnipeg 4-5-1; Toronto 2-8-0
Season series: This is the second game between the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs. Winnipeg won 5-4 in overtime on a Dustin Byfuglien goal Jan. 25.
Big story: Already facing an uphill battle to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs because they have played more games than the teams in front of them in the wild-card standings, the Maple Leafs received bad news Friday when it was announced starting goalie Jonathan Bernier will miss three weeks with a strained MCL. Bernier was injured in the third period of a 4-3 overtime win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
"[Bernier] is disappointed. There is really nothing you can do. … Those are the type of injuries that you don't like to see happen, but they do happen," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said after practice Friday. "Now we have to move forward without Bernier."
Jets: A 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday ended any hopes the Jets had at getting a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. But they aren't packing it in.
"We are going to treat these next four games the way we should. We're going to approach it professionally, get ourselves jacked up and ready to play and try to get some wins," defenseman Adam Pardy said after the loss.
The Jets, who will miss the playoffs for the third straight season in Winnipeg, have four wins in their past 16 games.
Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs have won back-to-back games following an eight-game losing streak to stay alive in the race for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With Bernier out, they will have to rely on goalie James Reimer during the final four games.
"I feel prepared. Obviously it's terrible. You never wish an injury upon someone so I hope he can come back quick," Reimer said after practice Friday. "But until then, I am going to do what I can to give this team a chance."
Reimer picked up the win Thursday in relief, allowing one goal and making 10 saves over the final 15 minutes. But he hasn't won in his past eight starts and has allowed three or more goals in each of the past six.
This is the regular-season home finale for the Maple Leafs, who finish with three straight road games.
Who's hot: Jets forward Bryan Little had a seven-game point scoring streak (two goals, six assists) snapped Thursday. Forward Blake Wheeler has four goals and 14 points in his past 11 games. … Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner has seven assists in his past six games and defenseman Cody Franson has four points in his past three games.
Injury report: Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome (back) and forward James Wright (ankle) are on injured reserve. Forwards Chris Thorburn (foot) and Mark Scheifele (knee) are out. Goalie Al Montoya (lower body) and defensemen Zach Bogosian (upper body) and Keaton Ellerby (lower body) did not play Thursday. … In addition to Bernier, Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul (lower body) did not play Thursday and is day-to-day.