January 25 2014 01:27PM
Back at it tonight, this time in Winnipeg, as the hot-cold pack road trip comes to an end with a game in a city where the temperature is too bloody cold and the wind is blowing too bloody hard. I think we can agree that no matter what happens tonight, the Leafs road trip would have to be considered a success given they've guaranteed themselves at least a split with wins against Colorado and Phoenix.
The Jets have had a decent record since firing Claude Noel, but as Tyler points out at Sportsnet, that's just noise and regressive corrections falsely attributed to something else. Teams go on streaks and slumps all the time, and sometimes they mirror with a coach getting fired or a player returning from injury, but not always.
Winnipeg, for my money, are still a lousy team, but in the NHL, that's no guarantee of a victory. Stats/lineups below:
|Corsi Close %||48.6% (23rd)||42.9% (29th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.32 (12th)||2.20 (18th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.57 (27th)||2.44 (22nd)|
|5v5 Diff/60||-0.23 (19th)||-0.23 (20th)|
|PDO||99.3 (20th)||101.3 (7th)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.30 (28th)||7.84 (4th)|
|5v4 SF/60||48.2 (23rd)||54.9 (7th)|
|4v5 GA/60||6.38 (16th)||6.74 (20th)|
|4v5 SA/60||61.0 (27th)||62.1 (29th)|
|Penalty Differential||-9 (21st)||-13 (24th)|
The Jets have a bit of five-on-five power, apparently, but it goes to waste on the powerplay. No 20-goal scorers yet, but they have seven 10-goal scorers so far, and Mark Scheifele has nine and could get ten on a lucky bounce at any time. I wouldn't say that they have a lot of depth, even so, because they're a trainwreck possession team when Evander Kane, Tobias Enstrom or Dustin Byfuglien aren't on the ice.
I didn't like flipping Byfuglien to forward for them, because it takes away his defensive minutes and he's one of the team's better players, weight issues aside. He's gone from averaging over 25 minutes a game to 19 minutes a game, no longer kills penalties, and went from averaging a +2.7% Relative Corsi for to a -3.2% in his last six. Effectively, the Jets neutralized one of their better threats.
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik
Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Devin Setoguchi - Olli Jokinen - Dustin Byfuglien
Chris Thorburn - Eric O'Dell - Anthony Peluso
Zach Bogosian - Tobias Enstrom
Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba
Adam Pardy - Keaton Ellerby
Adam Pardy is best known for having a drunk Chicago fan take his helmet off after Pardy was checked through the glass.
One of the Jets biggest concerns doesn't lie in that list of 18 skaters. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec is Exhibit A of "make highlight-reel saves and have fans think you're good". He's almost always caught out of position, so goals that go in on him look earned by the Jets' defence. They're not really as bad as Pavelec makes them look.
No changes to the Leafs lineup, apparently, per Daily Faceoff. Joffrey Lupul is still with Nazem Kadri and Nik Kulemin and Troy Bodie remains with Peter Holland and Mason Raymond in the "oh God please don't get caught in your own zone" line.
Even after a bad loss, we should hope that the defence stays the same. Cody Franson and Tim Gleason are working well together and Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly can crush lower competition. Inserting Paul Ranger just destroys one of those things.
James Reimer and, presumably Pavelec, though he isn't confirmed. The Jets are on the first leg of a back-to-back, although Pavelec is a work horse and was known to play both games under Noel despite the Jets having a fairly capable backup in Al Montoya to share the load. They'll probably buy out Pavelec at the end of the year, so maybe the Leafs could get one or two of the Jets good forwards in exchange for Reimer if that's the path they take. Reimer's from Manitoba, which is probably why Randy Carlyle gave him the start. I think he should get a chance to earn back the net, even if there's no real statistical difference between him and Jonathan Bernier this season (noise aside).
Leafs and Jets at 7 Eastern on Hockey Night. Visit our friends at Jets Nation even though they said very mean things about the Leafs.