The Maple Leafs, one of the league’s better road teams through five away games (4-1), will visit one of the loudest buildings in the league tonight, the acoustic MTS Centre, where the Jets are 3-1 this season and 26-14-5 since their return to Winnipeg.
Both teams have come as advertised through ten games, grinding it out around .500 on the edge of the playoff picture. With a win, the Jets would pass the Leafs according to my premature standings watch, so let’s hope the Leafers prevent that from happening.
The Jets will ice a line of Leaf castoffs Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov, and Kyle Wellwood, who has enjoyed playing in a market where someone else takes the brunt of fat jokes. Wellwood had his best season in the league with the Jets last season, putting up 47 points, but has just one assist through seven games so far in 2013. Ponikarovsky has just one point as well in his nine games while Antropov has a goal and two assists in the same span. Please, Leafs, let’s keep it that way tonight.
The Leafs are fortunate to be facing a Buffy-less Jets team tonight, as Dustin Byfuglien has been his usual offensive force from the blueline but is currently out day to day with obesity.
James Reimer is back in net for the Leafs and gets the start in his hometown, which is nice and hopefully means he has himself a fine game.