WINNIPEG – The Toronto Maple Leafs arrive in Winnipeg to meet the Jets on Saturday night while lugging a two-game losing streak in the midst of an inconsistent December.
The Leafs blew a two-goal lead in the third period Thursday night at Carolina and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Hurricanes. The Leafs have a 4-5-3 December mark and are in a four-way tie with the Jets, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators at 41 points in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs did not hold a morning skate, but center Tyler Bozak fell awkwardly in the Leafs’ afternoon practice Friday at the MTS Centre and will be a game-time decision on Toronto’s top line. Colby Armstrong, Mike Brown, Mike Komisarek and John-Michael Liles are all out with injuries. Philippe Dupuis and Matthew Lombardi could be possibilities for the Leafs.
James Reimer will start in net for the Leafs in front of family and friends in his native Manitoba. Reimer’s start will be his sixth consecutive nod and 11th in the Leafs’ 13 games this month.
After Saturday night, the Leafs return home for four-game homestand that begins this coming Tuesday against Tampa Bay. The Leafs begin the new calendar year with nine of 10 games at the Air Canada Centre.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for Toronto:
Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur – Tim Connolly – Nazem Kadri
Nikolai Kulemin – Mikhail Grabovski – Matt Frattin
Darryl Boyce – David Steckel – Joey Crabb
Dion Phaneuf – Carl Gunnarsson
Luke Schenn – Keith Aulie
Cody Franson – Jake Gardiner