The Winnipeg Jets got the better of the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Tuesday night at the MTS Centre. Blake Wheeler found the back of the net twice for the Jets and former Leaf Nik Antropov added a goal and two assists. Evander Kane and Kyle Wellwood also chipped in with a goal and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien had three helpers to round out the scoring for the Jets.
This was not a particularly good effort for Toronto and the score was probably even more flattering than it should have been. The team did little to help starter James Reimer as the defense is now beginning to show some signs of weakness. Phil Kessel was a lone bright spot scoring both Leaf goals.
Here are a few things that stood out from the game.
Poor defensive play
Toronto was really exposed last night defensively and struggled to keep up with the Jets’ foot speed. It was especially evident on Winnipeg’s fourth and fifth goals when Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler got in behind the defense with ease. The Leafs have now given up 29 goals in their last seven games, for a goals against average of 4.14. Randy Carlyle may have to bring someone in from the press box to send a message, or recall Jake Gardiner for a change of pace.
Awful line changes
A bad line change is going to happen every so often, but the Leafs had a few glaring ones in this game. In the first period they gave up a 3-on-2 when the Toronto forward group just casually skated off during a Jets breakout. They were fortunate Winnipeg couldn’t capitalize. However, it finally caught up to them late in the third when Kane took advantage of a sloppy change to put the game away. The Leafs turned it over instead of getting the puck deep leaving several players caught in no-man’s land and Kane skated in on a breakaway.
5-on-3’s need work
The Leafs had a 5-on-3 for almost a full two minutes in the second period and couldn’t score. The puck movement was poor and Dion Phaneuf, who I praised for showing patience on Saturday night with three assists, hammered the puck right at Jet shot blockers on a couple of occasions. The Leafs need to be better with their shot selection overall, but especially on a 5-on-3. What’s worse than not scoring in these situations is the momentum it gives the opposing team. The Jets were full of energy after killing that off.