WINNIPEG - Some may see tonight's match up at MTS Centre as a battle of the two first overall picks in the 2016 NHL Draft: Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews.
But Laine sees it a different way.
"It's Toronto versus Winnipeg," Laine said following today's morning skate.
"It's obviously nice to play against him and see where we're going as players. But it's team against team and just a normal game.
"We've played against each other a couple times now the past couple years. This is the first time playing against him in the NHL."
Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine
The Jets rookie has a goal and an assist through the first three games of his NHL career. Head coach Paul Maurice says despite the pressure put on Laine from outside the dressing room, the 18-year-old is handling it well.
"He works really hard, he's very competitive. He's not forgiving himself in the corner if it goes off the bar. He expects that puck to go inside all the time. He expects to score every time he touches the puck, but very humble," Maurice said of Laine, who leads all rookie forwards in average ice time at 19:19.
"When you talk to him, really good conversation, really good perspective. I'm careful about talking to him too much, I want to make sure the players talk to him more than the coach does so he gets to know the guys a little bit, but I'm really impressed with the way he's handled everything."
Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice
Laine skated alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler at this morning's skate. It's expected the trio will work together for the second straight game when the Jets (1-2-0) take on the Maple Leafs (1-0-1) tonight, in the second game of a three-game home stand for Winnipeg.
Wheeler has been impressed with what he's seen from Laine so far especially his willingness to learn and discuss positioning on the bench during games. The captain doesn't see the first match-up against Matthews as something that will weigh heavily on Laine.
"Even just reading the things he says and the things he talks about. I think he genuinely wants to help our team win," said Wheeler. "All the other stuff is going to be talked about and that's just part of the game. But I think he's here to help us win, and he's done a good job so far."
Video: PREGAME | Blake Wheeler
The Jets have scored first in each of their first three contests this season, with Shawn Matthias, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Wheeler providing those sparks. However the Jets have also trailed going into the third period in all three games.
Winnipeg has given up six goals in the second period, including one in Monday's 4-1 loss to Boston. But Adam Lowry sees that period as a building block toward how the Jets want to play.
"We were fast, we were on pucks, (and) we were creating a lot of chances. It was something we didn't do in Minnesota. We didn't get a lot of pucks to the net, we didn't get a lot of second and third opportunities," said Lowry. "I think we're going to look to carry that forward and look to improve and just try to play a more consistent 60 minutes."
Before that 60 minutes gets underway, fans are encouraged to be in their seats for 7 pm CT as the team will induct the "Hot Line" of Anders Hedberg, Bobby Hull, and Ulf Nilsson into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame.
The trio led the Jets to Avco Cups in 1976 and 1978 during their time as a group in Winnipeg, which spanned from 1974-1978.
- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com
JETS GAME NOTES
The Winnipeg Jets continue a three-game home stand tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first annual Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame Game…The Jets dropped the first game of the homestand to the Boston Bruins on Monday night 4-1…Toronto is coming in after beating those same Bruins 4-1 at home on Saturday night…Following tonight's game, the focus shifts to a four-day hockey celebration leading up to the 2016 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field on Sunday where the Jets will face the Edmonton Oilers.
Hot Line Honoured
Prior to the game, the Jets will induct the "Hot Line" - Anders Hedberg, Bobby Hull, and Ulf Nilsson, who played together for the Jets from 1974-78 - as the first three members of the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame…The trio led the Jets to an AVCO Cup Championship in 1976 and 1978 when the Jets were first came into existence as a member of the World Hockey Association.
Out In Front, Down Late
The Jets have scored the first goal of the game in each of their first three games to start the season. Shawn Matthias (Oct. 13 vs. CAR), Nikolaj Ehlers (Oct. 15 at MIN) and Blake Wheeler (Oct. 17 vs. BOS) have given Winnipeg the early lead this season…Unfortunately, the Jets have trailed entering the third period in all three games as well, with opening night's 5-4 OT win against Carolina the only time the Jets have rallied back.
The Winnipeg Jets play seven of their first 10 games of the season at home, including the 2016 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers…Five of those seven games are against Eastern Conference opponents (Carolina, Boston, Toronto, Buffalo and Washington)…Winnipeg's first multi-game road trip isn't until Nov. 3-6, which will take the team through Washington, Detroit and Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers…The Jets are 1-1-0 at home this season.
Tonight's game marks the first NHL meeting between the first two picks from the 2016 NHL Draft - Toronto's Auston Matthews and Winnipeg's Patrik Laine …After both posting multi-point games in their NHL debuts (Matthews - 4g, Laine - 1g, 1a), both players have been held pointless in subsequent games…Matthews (USA) and Laine (Finland) have played in several of the same international tournaments, including the 2015 U18 World Championship, 2016 World Junior Championship (didn't face each other) and 2016 World Championship…Two pair also met the 2016 World Cup of Hockey when Laine played for Finland and Matthews suited up for North America.