Maple Leafs-Jets Preview
After finding their way to the penalty box too often during their recent slide, the Winnipeg Jets took major strides toward solving those issues in their last game.
The Jets will try to keep penalties to a minimum and win their fourth straight at home on Thursday night when they take on the Maple Leafs, one of the best road teams in the NHL.
Winnipeg (4-4-1) was forced to make adjustments after totaling 16 penalties over three straight losses by a combined 18-9 margin on their recent road swing.
The Jets were burned for eight power play goals on the trip before bouncing back to negate Florida's only two man-advantage opportunities in a 3-2 overtime home win on Tuesday.
They've been far more disciplined on their home ice all season, totaling seven penalties in four games compared to 22 in five on the road.
"It was huge after the road trip (where) we didn't play well, we came in this building, we feel comfortable here,'' goalie Ondrej Pavelec said. "We needed two points, especially after the road trip.''
Regardless of the venue, the Maple Leafs haven't been much of a threat on the power play. After converting 2 of 5 chances in the season opener, they've gone just 4 for 45 (8.9 percent) in their last nine games.
Toronto (5-5-0) has lost four of five at home, but keeps finding ways to win on the road. The Maple Leafs opened a three-game trip with a 3-2 victory at Washington on Tuesday for their fourth win in five games away from home.
"We just want to continue to build on some of the good things we've been doing and take that onto the ice (on Thursday)," said coach Randy Carlyle, a former Winnipeg defenseman.
James van Riemsdyk scored two goals against the Capitals, and five of his team-leading six goals have come on the road.
Right wing Matt Frattin has also provided a spark with five goals and seven points in seven games. He had eight goals in 56 games last season.
Toronto has nine goals in five home games, but 16 in five road contests. The Maple Leafs, however, may have a difficult time continuing that trend against Pavelec, who has been solid at home.
Pavelec is just 1-3-1 with an .873 save percentage and 3.81 GAA on the road, but he's 2-1-0 with a .912 save percentage and 2.59 GAA in Winnipeg.
Pavelec has allowed three goals while winning his last two starts against the Maple Leafs.
Little providing the winner on the power play with 16 seconds left in overtime. He also scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 victory over Toronto in the prior meeting in Winnipeg last February.
Led by Tobias Enstrom's team-high 12 points, the Jets have one of the highest-scoring defenses in the NHL with eight goals and 31 points. Enstrom has four goals and eight points in his last seven games against the Maple Leafs.
Despite a solid 24-save performance from Ben Scrivens against the Capitals, Toronto is expected to start James Reimer. Reimer has lost two straight starts, including a 4-1 defeat to Carolina on Monday that dropped him to 3-3-0 this season.
He's 2-1-0 with a 2.46 GAA in his last four in this series.
The Jets have won three straight over the Maple Leafs in Winnipeg.