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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 25th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (27-21-5) at Winnipeg Jets (23-24-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - While the Winnipeg Jets dropped a one-goal decision last time out to see their four-game winning streak came to a halt, the Toronto Maple Leafs had their longest string of victories this season snapped in lopsided fashion.
The two clubs look to rebound with Saturday night's meeting in Winnipeg.
The Jets had matched their longest win streak of the season by winning their first four games under Paul Maurice, who replaced a fired Claude Noel as head coach on Jan. 12. Aiming for a fifth consecutive triumph, Winnipeg instead lost a 1-0 decision in San Jose.
Ondrej Pavelec took the tough-luck loss, yielding a goal 6:48 into the third period and coming up with 31 stops overall.
"They got the bounce and we didn't," Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba said. "(Pavelec) certainly did a great job to keep us in it. We can take a lot of positives out of this game."
One positive remains the defense as the Jets have yet to allow more than two goals in a game under Maurice. Pavelec has been part of that surge, giving up just eight goals in the five games since the coaching switch.
However, Winnipeg was shut out for the second time this season and for the first time since a 3-0 loss at home to Montreal on Oct. 15.
The Leafs might wish they had that kind of losing effort to build off, but they instead will look to rebound from a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Toronto had won six in a row, but yielded four second-period tallies and matched its largest margin of defeat on the season, having lost 6-0 to Columbus on Nov. 25.
Nikolai Kulemin had a goal, but Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer combined to make just 21 saves. Bernier allowed three goals on 13 shots through 26 1/2 minutes, while Reimer didn't fare much better after getting bested four times on 15 shots faced in relief.
"We've got to find a way to pick ourselves back up," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle said. "We can't let this linger with our group."
Forward Nazem Kadri assisted on Kulemin's tally to give him five helpers in his past five games for a Maple Leafs club that concludes a four-game road trip tonight and is tied with the Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points.
Tonight marks the first of two meetings this season between the Jets and Leafs, who will host Winnipeg on April 5.
The Jets have won two straight and four of the last six meetings overall and have claimed three of four over the Maple Leafs since relocating to Winnipeg.
Pavelec has gone 7-4-2 with a 2.23 goals against average in 13 career starts versus the Maple Leafs.
Reimer, expected to get the start tonight, is 3-2-1 with a 2.43 GAA in his career versus the Winnipeg franchise, making eight appearances with six starts.
01/25 10:24:39 ET