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With a huge signing in the off-season of Jonathan Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs, some people in the hockey world are touting the team as early cup contenders. However, just as many, after seeing how well the Winnipeg Jets did during their playoff run this past season, are also predicting the Jets to be strong favourites. The October 24 game between these two team, which have turned out to be Canada's two strongest contenders to lift the silverware up in the spring of 2019 was the first of two regular season games between the pair of hockey powerhouses before they potentially meet again in the post season.
During the first half of the game, although the Jets did have a lot of fight and energy in them, it was the Leafs who came out strong, off of a first period goal by Kasperi Kapanen at 14:38 two-second period goals by Tyler Ennis (2:25) and Nazeem Kadri (11:43).
Even so, the Jets were able to kill off their single penalty and eventually score in the third period, mounting what appeared to be a possible comeback. At 4:37 of the final frame, Nikolaj Ehlers was able to tap one in on the high pressure play he and his teammates put onto goaltender Frederik Andersen, scoring from a foot outside the blue paint and in, putting the home team on the board. Later, when the Jets got a power play, Mark Scheifele blasted on in from the top of the glove hand side circle at 6:28, giving the Jets and their fans hope for a comeback.
Unfortunately nobody told Jonathan Tavares this plan, as he scored at 8:28 of the third. The Jets, try as they may, could not get anything else past goaltender Andersen, and the final score wound up being 4-2 in favour of the visiting Leafs.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This game marked the first regulation loss the Jets have had so far in the early 2018-2019 NHL hockey season. Even if the loss was tough to swallow for the team and fans alike, there were a lot of positives that came out of the game. To begin with, BLAKE WHEELER still has his points scoring streak alive as he assisted on both of the Jets' goals, extending the streak to three games. Scoring in the last two games are MARK SCHEIFELE, where he scored three goals and one assist over that time, along with JACOB TROUBA, who has a goal and an assist during this time, and KYLE CONNOR, with a pair of assists. And as mentioned earlier, Blake Wheeler was the lone multipoint man for the Jets this evening with his pair of assists. Another thing to be noted is that, although in the regular season, the Jets and Leafs only tangle twice during the regular season, should they meet in the playoffs, the results shall be extremely hard for anyone to predict at this point in the season. These two regular season games are the chances that the coaching staff have to suss out the Leafs' playing style this season. The Jets' next action shall be on Friday, October 26 as they travel to Detroit, then the following day, will be meting up for the final time playing against the Leafs before the playoffs in the spring.