The Winnipeg Jets had the great opportunity last night as they kicked off a two-game series at Bell MTS Place against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That opportunity was that the Jets would jump into first place in the North Division with a win against the Leafs.
Unfortunately for the Jets, they did not make the most of this game as Toronto extended their division lead to three points ahead of Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Jets lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1
Here are three talking points from the Jets’ loss:
3. The Jets Slow Start Costs Them
After returning from a seven-game road trip, Paul Maurice was worried about how the Jets would perform tonight in their first home game in two weeks.
Those worries became reality in the first period of yesterday’s game. Auston Matthews scored four minutes into the game and then Zach Hyman put the Leafs up 2-0 just over the halfway mark into the opening frame.
At that point, the Jets were being outshot 9-2 and this game had the makings of one that could get out of hand.
After that goal, Winnipeg weathered the storm. They did not allow another goal for the rest of the period even though they were outshot 14-6 and went into the locker room down 2-0.
This slow start from the Jets cost them in the long run of the game. Even though they had a strong second period, they were unable to mount a comeback in the second and third periods.
2. Winnipeg’s Penalty Kill Plays Outstanding
There are positives to be taken from every game and the best part of the Jets’ game yesterday was their penalty kill.
The Jets spotted one of the most offensive-talented teams in the NHL five-powerplays in the game.
Although the Jets gave the Leafs these man-advantage opportunities, the Jets’ penalty kill was outstanding. The Jets PK went five-for-five and averaged one shot against per powerplay.
The Jets’ penalty kill deserves credit for their efforts in yesterday’s game. They were a positive for the Jets on a night that many things did not go well for Winnipeg.
1. Blake Wheeler Leaves the Game Injured
At the start of the second period, Jets’ captain, Blake Wheeler was not on the bench after suffering an apparent injury. There was no sign on how Wheeler got injured and he did not return for the rest of the game for the Jets.
The Winnipeg Jets provided no update on the injury after the game and said that Wheeler will be looked at tomorrow.
This is a huge blow for the Jets. They are coming down the final stretch of the season and one of their best players and leader has suffered an injury.
We should have an update on the severity of Wheeler’s injury within the next couple of days.
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The Winnipeg Jets will look to split this series with the Leafs when these teams faceoff tomorrow night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. central time.
Winnipeg Jets Fans: If Blake Wheeler is ruled out of the lineup for tomorrow who should come in for him? Leave your comments below!
*All Stats Provided by the NHL*