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Preview: Jets at Maple Leafs

Winnipeg's Patrik Laine faces Toronto's Auston Matthews for final time this season

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

JETS (28-29-5) at MAPLE LEAFS (27-20-11)

7:30 p.m. ET; TSN4, TSN3, NHL.TV

 

Jets team scope

Defenseman Jacob Trouba won't play for the Winnipeg Jets after being suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators in a 3-2 win on Sunday. "The bigger problem that we're dealing with right now is that we have Tyler Myers and Toby Enstrom out as well," coach Paul Maurice said. "They played together as a shutdown pair. Trouba and Josh Morrissey, a rookie, believe it or not, had taken over that role in our lineup and it's part of the reason we've played a much better brand of hockey as of late. It's a huge, huge loss for us." The Jets are one point out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, currently held by the Calgary Flames. After a four-game losing streak, Winnipeg is 3-0-1 in its past four games and 5-1-1 in its past seven road games. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will start his seventh consecutive game. "We're buying in and working a lot harder," Hellebuyck said. "We kind of got away from our style and tried to play a finesse game. It's not a finesse game at this time of year. There are times to be finesse but for the most part you have to work hard and out-work the guy across from you."

 

Maple Leafs team scope

2016 No. 1 NHL Draft pick Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs will face the No. 2 pick, Jets forward Patrik Laine, for the second and final time this season. Each has 28 goals; Laine has 52 points, three more than Matthews. "It's obvious [the media] likes to make a big deal out of it, but all in all it's an important two points for both teams," Matthews said. "We're both in pretty similar situations. These are valuable points on the line for both teams, so I'm sure it's going to be a pretty intense game." Forward Mitchell Marner was placed on injured reserve (upper body) retroactive to Feb.15 and will miss his third consecutive game after being injured in a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Toronto is one point behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference and one point behind the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. Frederik Andersen will start in goal after backing up Curtis McElhinney in a 4-0 road win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

 
Jets projected lineup

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Bryan Little -- Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault -- Mark Scheifele -- Patrik Laine

Shawn Matthias -- Adam Lowry -- Joel Armia

Chris Thorburn -- Nic Petan - Brandon Tanev

Julian Melchiori -- Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey -- Ben Chiarot

Mark Stuart -- Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Andrew Copp

Injured: Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body), Ondrej Pavelec (lower body), Toby Enstrom (lower body), Drew Stafford (flu)

Suspended: Jacob Trouba

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Connor Brown

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Josh Leivo

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Frederik Gauthier -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Ben Smith , Martin Marincin, Alexey Marchenko

Injured: Mitchell Marner (upper body)

 

Status report

Stafford will miss his third straight game because of the flu. ... Toronto recalled Gauthier from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. Smith will be a healthy scratch. "We're just going to give Smith a reset and then get him back at it, but Gauthier gets a chance tonight," coach Mike Babcock said.

 

Who's hot

Laine has five goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. Scheifele has seven assists in his past four games. Perreault has two goals and two assists in his past three games. Byfuglien has two goals and one assist during a three-game point streak. ... Matthews has three goals and two assists in his past four games. Kadri has four goals and six assists in his past nine games. Leivo has one goal and five assists in his past four games. 

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