The last time our Toronto Maple Leafs faced an NHL calling Winnipeg home was March 13, 1996
A lot has changed in the interim:
- The game ended in a 3-3 tie a concept so repulsive the NHL replaced it with a skills competition.
- The Leafs starting goaltender was Felix “The Cat” Potvin who has long since retired. He is also a real jerk on Twitter.
- The starting goalie for the Jets was Nikolai Khabibulin who went to the desert, won a Cup with Tampa Bay, and is currently doing his best to obtain another lottery pick for the Oilers.
- Up front the Leafs were lead by Dave Andreychuk, Doug Gilmour, Mats Sundin, Mike Gartner, and Kirk Muller. /swoon
- Winnipeg countered with Shane Doan, Keith Tkachuk, and that’s about it.
- Winnipeg was in the middle of a six game winless streak while the Leafs were in the middle of a stretch that saw them pick up only 2 wins and 1 tie in 15 games.
That was 14 years ago, what can we expect tonight?
The Leafs enter the game looking to avenge their first loss of the season while the Jets look to secure their second win of the season. While a Wednesday night Leafs/Thrashers game has all the excitement of watching grass grow the Leafs/Jets game is chalk full of potential narratives:
- After being dominated by the Habs in their home opener the Jets don’t want to be pushed around by Canada’s team.
- Which “hometown” player will put on a show for friends and family: Brett Maclean (London, ON), Mark Scheifele (Kitchener, ON) Kyle Wellwood (Windsor, ON)
- Will Kyle Wellwood and Nik Antropov put up a big game against their former team?
- Does this game mean more to James Reimer being from Manitoba?
- They will be
- Mark Scheifele
- "Aw shucks"
All that’s left is the game. Here are tonight’s line-ups via James Mirtle:
Lupul – Bozak – Kessel
MacArthur – Grabovski – Kulemin
Frattin – Lombardi – Armstrong
Steckel – Dupuis – Brown
Gunnarsson – Phaneuf
Liles – Schenn
Gardiner – Komisarek
Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Burmistrov – Antropov – Wellwood
Kane – Scheifele – Stapleton
Glass – Slater – Thorburn
Enstrom – Byfuglien
Stuart – Bogosian
Oduya – Meech
4-0-1 or bust.
Go Leafs Go!