0
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski | USA Today

Maple Leafs Pregame #45: 5 Things to watch for against the Jets

After a rather long train ride out east, the Jets are enjoying the luxury of flight on their road trip around the Atlantic division. Tonight they get the privilege of playing Toronto against the Leafs, who having to deal with their devastating one game losing streak which has shaken all our beliefs about this team.

Lineups

LW C RW Forwards
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 73.9#46 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 82.2#2 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 78.5#6 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.19#5 FL1
Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 72.8#70 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 80.0#8 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 78.0#9 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.92#3 FL2
Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL

Rating: 73.2#60 LW

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 70.2#151 C

Kasperi Kapanen
KASPERI KAPANEN

Rating: 73.0#59 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.11#12 FL3
Mason Marchment
MASON MARCHMENT

Rating: 73.2#59 LW

Adam Brooks
ADAM BROOKS
Frederik Gauthier
FREDERIK GAUTHIER

Rating: 68.9#127 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.06#14 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 76.0#10 LD

Tyson Barrie
TYSON BARRIE

Rating: 76.4#12 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.17#5 DL1
Martin Marincin
MARTIN MARINCIN

Rating: 71.8#82 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 73.2#45 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.51#26 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 72.8#57 LD

Cody Ceci
CODY CECI

Rating: 71.5#81 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.16#15 DL3
LW C RW Forwards
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 78.8#9 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 79.3#12 C

Patrik Laine
PATRIK LAINE

Rating: 75.1#28 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.74#6 FL1
Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 74.7#32 LW

Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 75.9#21 C

Jack Roslovic
JACK ROSLOVIC

Rating: 70.7#98 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 73.73#18 FL2
Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 73.3#56 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 70.2#153 C

Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 69.9#112 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.10#25 FL3
Jansen Harkins
JANSEN HARKINS
Nick Shore
NICK SHORE

Rating: 70.8#133 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON

Rating: 69.8#113 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.27#22 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 73.7#36 LD

Tucker Poolman
TUCKER POOLMAN

Rating: 71.2#84 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 72.46#29 DL1
Luca Sbisa
LUCA SBISA

Rating: 71.0#103 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 73.3#40 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.15#29 DL2
Sami Niku
SAMI NIKU

Rating: 71.6#88 LD

Anthony Bitetto
ANTHONY BITETTO

Rating: 69.6#100 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 70.63#29 DL3

Aw yes, the highly anticipated return of Nick Shore. Gonna let the kids stay up for this one.

Here are 5 things to watch for.

1. Goaltending

After a rough start which saw him pulled it will be interesting to see if Freddie Andersen makes a statement tonight, or if we just a get another reminder that the week off at the end of January can’t come soon enough.

2. Defense

So the actual problem isn’t really goaltending, but instead a blueline that features some rather questionable players in Marincin and Ceci, but also we might need to have some debate over whether Holl is being put in over his head in his shutdown role and if Morgan Rielly needs a lot of sheltering.

3. Who survives Johnsson’s return?

Sheldon Keefe has all but confirmed that we won’t be seeing any Johnsson this weekend, but we’ll be getting some Johnsson real soon.

That should mean that waivers free players like Brooks and Marchment are in direct competition to stay in the lineup and need to ace their auditions. I’m going out on a limb and saying that Engvall is pretty safe, and given that he’s requested a trade perhaps moving Timashov is what works best for everyone at this point.

4. Exploiting the Jets D

Looking at the lineup above, I wonder if this is really the game the Leafs need to focus on their defensive efforts and instead can just go with an all out attack on that crappy blueline instead.

5. That Jets top line

Connor-Scheifele-Laine is pretty terrifying even if Laine hasn’t lived up to his hype over the past couple of seasons. It will be interesting to see if Keefe stubbornly sticks with Marincin-Holl as the matchup against the top line, which also begs the question, “who does it if they can’t?”

Game time is 7:30 PM ET and it can be seen on Sportsnet.