Jets-Maple Leafs Preview
Though hardly a polished product, the Toronto Maple Leafs can take comfort in knowing they're capable of showing some resiliency.
Fresh off their initial home victory, the Maple Leafs look to win back-to-back games for the first time Wednesday night against the visiting Winnipeg Jets.
James Reimer yielded a soft goal 58 seconds after his team opened the scoring and Toronto (2-7-2) had a score taken off the board on a coach's challenge later in the first period, but the hosts never broke down Monday. Instead, the Maple Leafs scored the only two goals of the second and Reimer made 43 saves in a 4-1 victory over Dallas.
"That's really been the story ... just not getting those favorable bounces or hitting posts or getting goals disallowed," forward Nazem Kadri said. "We were able to battle a little bit of adversity."
The Maple Leafs weren't expected to have an easy start in coach Mike Babcock's first season, but they showed their mettle while snapping an 0-5-1 slide. Toronto scored twice on five power-play chances after coming in 2 for 27 with the man advantage.
"For us it's a process," veteran forward Brad Boyes said. "We've got to learn how to play with a lead properly. Get the next one, but not get too eager out there."
Joffrey Lupul scored two of his team-leading five goals and added an assist as the Maple Leafs broke out after totaling one goal in the previous two contests.
"Lupes, he's been working really hard this year ... He's been doing a lot of good things," Reimer said. "I think that's a case where when you do the right things long enough, eventually you get some results."
After helping Toronto yield its fewest goals of the season, Reimer will make a second consecutive start in place of banged-up Jonathan Bernier.
"I feel like I've been playing well this season, not getting a couple bounces," said Reimer, who is 2-1-1 with a 2.98 goals-against average as a starter. "(On Monday), I got a couple bounces, a couple posts and a couple that managed to hit me when I was sprawling."
A Manitoba native, Reimer is 0-3-0 with a 5.19 GAA in his last four starts against Winnipeg.
The Jets (7-4-1), who have earned five points in their last three games at Toronto, look to rebound after falling 5-1 at Montreal on Sunday. Averaging 29.6 shots entering that contest, Winnipeg was held to a season-low 19. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson was pulled for giving up four goals on nine shots.
"I can't tell you if (the Canadiens) were really good because we were really bad or vice versa," said coach Paul Maurice, whose team has yet to suffer consecutive losses in regulation. "We just didn't have any jump, and that's it.
"We've got to be a (heck) of a lot better in Toronto."
Maurice could go back to starter Ondrej Pavelec, who has won his last four starts against the Maple Leafs.
Teammate Blake Wheeler was held without a point for the second time this season Sunday. He had five goals and four assists during a five-game point streak against Toronto that ended with a 4-3 overtime road loss Feb. 21.