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Leafs look to build on Thursday’s win tonight vs. Jets

To say this series hasn’t made Leafs Nation collectively age several decades this week would be an understatement. After falling short on Tuesday, it looked like the Winnipeg Hellebuyck’s… er, I mean Jets, had the Leafs on the ropes again until goals from William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev got the Leafs ahead before the Jets tied it late, and Auston Matthews got the Leafs the win in overtime.

Despite the fact that the Jets have three of a possible four points in this series, the Leafs have been the better team in this series by far. Through the first two games, they’ve had 60.95% of the shot attempts, and 62.4% of the expected goals at even strength, clearly dictating the play. They just struggled to beat Connor Hellebuyck until that final 15 minutes of the third and overtime.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Leafs are doing this good in these games. Not only have the Leafs cemented themselves as the best team in this division, the Jets are also one of the worst despite their record. They have the second worst 5v5 CF% in the division (only 0.2% better than the Canucks), and they have the worst xGF% in the division. They really aren’t that good despite having the second best points percentage.

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Will the Leafs find themselves getting goalied again, or will their dominance finally pay off?

Lineups

Toronto Maple Leafs

LW C RW Forwards
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 74.6#33 LW

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Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 82.3#6 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

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Rating: 76.6#18 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.83#6 FL1
Joe Thornton
JOE THORNTON

Rating: 72.3#74 LW

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John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 77.6#15 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.1#23 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.31#7 FL2
Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV

Rating: 74.0#42 LW

Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 70.8#113 C

Pierre Engvall
PIERRE ENGVALL

Rating: 71.0#98 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.95#14 FL3
Jimmy Vesey
JIMMY VESEY

Rating: 70.6#107 LW

Travis Boyd
TRAVIS BOYD

Rating: 70.4#124 C

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 69.4#126 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.15#22 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 75.3#14 LD

T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE

Rating: 74.2#27 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 74.76#15 DL1
Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.1#17 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 72.0#61 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.56#12 DL2
Travis Dermott
TRAVIS DERMOTT

Rating: 71.7#83 LD

Zach Bogosian
ZACH BOGOSIAN

Rating: 71.4#76 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.56#20 DL3

Winnipeg Jets

LW C RW Forwards
Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.8#36 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 76.8#19 C

Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 76.3#22 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 75.98#10 FL1
Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 79.5#5 LW

Pierre-Luc Dubois
PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS

Rating: 74.6#38 C

Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 75.7#20 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.61#2 FL2
Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 72.5#60 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 69.2#149 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON

Rating: 69.5#123 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.44#26 FL3
Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 71.1#96 LW

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 69.4#145 C

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.1#114 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 70.20#20 FL4
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS Defense
Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 74.1#29 LD

Tucker Poolman
TUCKER POOLMAN

Rating: 71.6#74 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 72.82#29 DL1
Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 70.5#109 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 75.3#20 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.92#16 DL2
Logan Stanley
LOGAN STANLEY
Dylan DeMelo
DYLAN DEMELO

Rating: 71.8#69 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 71.76#14 DL3

Leafs Player to Watch: William Nylander

You could argue that Nylander probably should have had five or six goals on Thursday the way he was playing, but I’m sure he’s more than just happy with the one he got. Still, he’s been all over the puck in this series, and if he keeps it up, he could get a lot more tonight. I’m feeling a hat trick, even though that probably doesn’t happen.

Jets Player to Watch: Nikolaj Ehlers

Like the player drafted right before him, Ehlers has been all over the puck for the Jets, and probably one of the few Jets that has actually been noticeable. On a team with a relatively overrated forward group (hey Mark Scheifele), Ehlers is one of the few that actually lives up to the hype.

Leafs Starting Goalie: Frederik Andersen

Despite his struggles this series, Andersen is back in the crease tonight, most likely because Campbell is still dealing with his injury. Freddie was better on Thursday, but there were still moments where he could’ve been better, especially in a game where the other goalie gave the Leafs nothing. Still, he has the third most wins in the NHL for a reason, and that’s because most nights he’s just good enough to give the amazing Leafs team in front of the win.

Jets Starting Goalie: Laurent Brossoit

You may be seeing this and be happy that Connor Hellebuyck isn’t in net, but in the six games he’s played so far this season, Brossoit has been just as good as Hellebuyck. It’s obviously a much smaller sample size, but don’t think this is going to be an easy game just because the Leafs don’t have to face the guy who had their number all series.

You can catch the game at 7pm tonight on Sportsnet.