Winnipeg and Toronto meet for the first time this season on Wednesday night. These two teams will meet for the second and final time on Saturday night. Both teams have found a lot of success early in the season. I believe that there is a chance that these two teams meet in the Stanley Cup. Both teams have very strong rosters and looked poised for a really good season.
Toronto finished last season with a 49-26-7 record. The Maple Leafs finished third in the Atlantic Division and met up with the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs. Toronto gave the Bruins a run for their money, but in the end, Boston moved on in seven games. The Maple Leafs made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by signing John Tavares to an already stacked roster.
Winnipeg had an even better season last year with a 52-20-10 record. The Jets finished in second place of the Central Division. Winnipeg went on to knock off the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators in the first two round. The Jets could not make it past the Vegas Golden Knights in the Conference Finals. Winnipeg will look for their young roster to continue to develop for another deep playoff run.
Winnipeg has jumped out to a 6-2-1 record this season. The Jets are third in the Central Division to begin this season. Toronto has begun the season with a 6-3 record. The Maple Leafs are sitting in first place of the Atlantic Division. Both teams should have an exciting matchup against each other on Wednesday night.
Last Season’s Matchups
Toronto and Winnipeg met twice last season with the road team winning each game. The first matchup of the season was in Winnipeg. Auston Mathews had a goal and two assists and Patrick Marleau scored two goals in the Maple Leafs win. Frederik Andersen stopped 35 shots as Toronto coasted to a 7-2 win.
The second game of the season was held in Toronto. Patrick Marleau opened the scoring with a goal in the second period, but Winnipeg responded with three straight goals. Hellebuyck had 28 saves on 29 shots in route to a 3-1 win for the Jets.
Even though each team won a game in the season series, neither of the games were super close. I believe that Wednesday’s game should be much closer. Both teams have powerful offenses and solid defenses. Both teams know that this is a big game and I expect them to bring out the best in each other.
Both teams have had really solid special teams to begin the season. Not surprisingly, both teams have had extremely lethal power plays. The Maple Leafs power play has scored 9 goals on 24 attempts for a 37.5 percent. Winnipeg has scored on 32 percent of their man advantages. Each team’s penalty kill will have to be at the top of their game to stop the opposing team’s power play.
Toronto’s penalty kill has stopped opponent’s power plays 84 percent of the time. The Maple Leafs have only committed 25 penalties, which is not bad for nine games. Winnipeg has committed 34 penalties this season. The Jets have a penalty kill percentage of 82 percent.
Toronto has slightly better special teams, but both teams should be careful to avoid the penalties. Neither team can afford to take a stupid penalty as it could cost them the game. Winnipeg has been less disciplined this season. If they can’t fix that for Wednesday night’s game, it could get them in some trouble.
Frederik Andersen will likely start in net for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. Andersen has started the season out with a 4-3 record. He has posted a save percentage of .910 and a 2.75 GAA. Andersen needs a little help from his defense. He has played some solid games, but he has also had some games where he was lit up. He will get tested against Winnipeg.
The Jets starting goalie will likely be Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck has posted a .909 save percentage and a GAA of 2.83 to begin this season. He has gone 4-2-1 so far this season. Like Andersen, I believe Hellebuyck could see an improvement in his numbers, but he needs a little extra help from his defense. It could be a tough game for Hellebuyck against Toronto’s offense.
Winnipeg is coming off a rough game on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues. The Jets pulled off the win in the end but had to pull off a difficult comeback in the third period. That win extended Winnipeg’s winning streak to three. Toronto lost their second game in a row last Saturday. The Maple Leafs fell 4-1 to the Blues. I don’t see the Maple Leafs losing their fourth in a row on Wednesday night.
BetOnline has Winnipeg listed at a -121 money line. This implies that they will win this game 55 percent of the time. I believe that this game should be listed at about 50-50 odds. Both teams are matched up well and the Maple Leafs are looking to break their losing streak. Toronto’s offense is deadly, and I believe it could dominate Winnipeg on Wednesday night. I am riding the road underdogs.