TORONTO, Ontario -- Tonight the Winnipeg Jets face off against an Original Six franchise for the second time during the current four-game road trip.
And while the Toronto Maple Leafs (2-7-2) may not have the 11-2-1 record the Montreal Canadiens do, they are coming off a 4-1 win over the Central Division leading Dallas Stars.
Another case of any team being capable of beating any other in the NHL on any given night.
“There’s no easy games in this league. I think everyone understands that you have to bring that effort each and every night and that structure in order to give yourself a chance,” said captain Andrew Ladd. “That’s something we preach in here, and hopefully we can get back on the saddle here after a tough one in Montreal.”
Chris Thorburn had the Jets’ only goal in the 5-1 loss to Montreal on Sunday. It was also the first game Thorburn had rookie Nic Petan playing centre on his line, with Andrew Copp missing the game with an upper-body injury. Thorburn complimented Petan on his play, especially since the 20-year-old Petan has spent the entire season on the wing so far.
“We’re just looking to build off that, and get (Petan) comfortable. He’s great on draws, obviously with the puck we know what he can do,” said Thorburn. “I don’t think in Montreal, me and (Peluso) got him enough pucks to let him do his thing. So that’s something we’re going to look to do tonight.”
The Jets are also looking to avoid something they haven’t done all season: lose two games in a row.
“It’s something we kind of say in here, is to not lose two in a row,” said Drew Stafford. “We have another back-to-back here, just like our first road trip of the year with the back-to-backs. It’s definitely a challenge but we’re trying to make sure … we’re moving on and moving in the right direction against Toronto.”
Maurice says he’s seen consistency in the Maple Leafs under new head coach Mike Babcock.
“They’re going to grind you with five guys in all three zones. They’re going to try and play as fast as they possibly can, which is exactly how I would describe the Winnipeg Jets if I were to tell you what we expect out of our team tonight,” said Maurice. “Every puck should get contested, I don’t think there will be a lot of room to make a lot of fancy plays.
“It has nothing to do with skill level or talent level, it’s the way both teams are going to play against the other team and limit them. It’ll be a puck fight from start to finish.”
That puck fight gets underway at 6 pm CT.
CORMIER CALLED UP
Prior to morning skate, the Winnipeg Jets recalled forward Patrice Cormier from the Manitoba Moose and placed Andrew Copp on injured reserve. Maurice shed some light on the decision after today’s morning skate at Air Canada Centre.
“We’re on the road, they’re at home. It’s nice they’re in Winnipeg. (Cormier) is a lot happier, it’s a lot easier of a flight for him,” Maurice said with a smile. “We’re going in on back-to-backs, we want to make sure we have an extra forward.”
Copp scored his first NHL goal against Columbus on October 31, the first game of the road trip. But even with Copp out of the line-up, Maurice has been careful to keep his lines in tact.
“We have really three lines that have two young players on each line. With those guys, we’ve got to give them some time to get some familiarity…. By design we’ve not moved them around, and just work on all parts of the game,” he said. “You take young players and start shifting them all over, they never get any kind of feeling of what to expect and what to learn.”
-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com