Earlier this week, the new Winnipeg Jets recorded their first win of the season, as they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of two to one. Winnipeg’s speed and youth was on full display, as top prospect and eventual number one center Alexander Burmistrov set up both Jets goals. The win was the first price per head victory for the Jets, although it was their fourth game of the season. Jets Head Coach Claude Noel was forced to read his team the riot act before the game because of lazy efforts in the team’s first three games.
On the other hand the Toronto Maple Leafs suffered their first loss of the season, in overtime, to the Colorado Avalanche. The notoriously slow starting Maple Leafs, have been feeling lucky as of late, as rough patches in the first period of all four of their games, have only resulted in one defeat. What was especially enticing to Leaf fans in their loss to Colorado was the fact that the Leafs were able to battle back from the Avalanche’s on slot and tie the game up in the third period.
Looking at each team’s roster, the Maple Leafs, who sit fourth in the Eastern Conference standings; need the win against Winnipeg almost as much as the Jets do. In essence, the Jets are not an NFL picks to make the playoffs this year; so losing in the first season is understandable. Conversely, if the Leafs do not collect wins early, it could affect their playoff aspirations later in the season. As a result, if the Leafs miss the playoffs for a seventh straight year, you can guarantee that changes will be made in the coaching and managing ranks.
In terms of the NHL power rankings, Toronto currently finds itself tied for fourth with the powerhouse Philadelphia Flyers. However, a victory tonight, could see them vault over not only the Flyers, but also Northeast divisional rivals the Buffalo Sabres. With the aforementioned loss to Colorado, the Leafs are one point behind Buffalo for the divisional lead.
On the other side of things, the Winnipeg Jets could see their power ranking slot jump from 27 to 22 with a win. The Jets are one of those teams, that if they can win a few games in a row, they could be in the thick of the playoff hunt by December. At the same time, another loss, and they may need to start looking for a new goalie.