Nazem Kadri scores first of season, Maple Leafs beat Jets 4-2

Maple Leafs lose Auston Matthews to upper-body injury against Jets

Maple Leafs lose Auston Matthews to upper-body injury against Jets

He started the game there after joining the top line for the third period of Monday's win over St. Louis, but by the time the third period began he had been moved to a line with Kyle Connor and Bryan Little and had been replaced on the top line by Ehlers, who responded with a monkey-off-the-back goal. Playing on third defence pair with Igor Ozhiganov will be Martin Marincin, who has sat the past four games and will be in the lineup for the third time this season and first since October 11 in Detroit.

"It's way better when there's a bunch of games on your calendar when you can say that's gonna be a big game and it's more exciting for everybody".

"He's pretty motivated at all times", said goalie Frederik Andersen, who has become close friends with Matthews. "We spent a lot of time together during the whole draft process, at the combine and everything like that, but that's it".

Usually hockey players will downplay individual showdowns and avoid suggesting the team is approaching a game any differently, but on Wednesday morning everyone seemed to agree that this has the potential to be a special night. "That's a lot of skills so you've got to be on your toes against them".

On the negative side of the coin, Ron Hainsey left the game with an undisclosed injury and it its unknown if he will play against the Jets again on Saturday. The Jets are at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

"We need him to score and he knows that".

"Everyone comes ready to play and has a gameplan to execute against us", Kadri said. "(The Leafs) have a great, young group of players right now that are going to be able to compete and be one of the best teams in the league for a long time.

"I get that all 82 games should be the same, but it's really boring if they are", said Jets coach Paul Maurice.

"It's important that we try to be consistent", said Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly. We're looking to get on track and find some traction.

"It hasn't always looked pretty for us through the first nine games".

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"I would never say, 'Take less than you're worth, '" he said. We're trying to get our game to where we think it could be, know where each other is on the ice a bit more, know our tendencies. In their previous 15 home games, the Jets had a 14-0-1 record. "I mean, I said before that McDavid's up there and his speed is second to none but Sid, he just wins and that's what makes him so valuable".

"(Offence) dries up for a number of reasons, whether it's work ethic or detail in your game. "I'm sure these guys are just the same".

As for busting out quicker, Babcock challenged, 'What came first, the chicken or the egg? "It's always fun to see good players go at it". Does it start on faceoffs?

Even the most ardent Jets fans might have second thoughts when asked to consider whether Matthews or Laine is the better player. He also hit the post last night, so he could have had two! It's the $77-million man's first regular-season hiccup. Despite this, experts and fans think that their offensive qualities will be enough to see them through, with the Buds favored at +475 in the National Hockey League betting odds to hoist the Cup, while the former co-favorites Tampa Bay Lightning sit back at +850 now. "When your team doesn't play good, you dig in and try and find a new way to be better". If you want to play with those guys and keep up with those guys, you've got to push your limits every day.

"Everyone wanted to talk about how many goals we were scoring", said Toronto centre Nazem Kadri, who remains without one himself despite numerous chances.

The goaltending depth crisis in the Leafs organization may be addressed in the near future, as both Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard are third goaltenders with their current clubs after the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers activated goalies Scott Darling and Michal Neuvirth on Thursday.

So the stage was set and the headliners of this marquee matchup were supposed to be Leafs star centre Auston Matthews and Jets young sniper Patrik Laine.

Maybe they were afraid of taking too many penalties. "You can feel it in the room and it will be wired in the building".

This is the fifth time they've played against each other. But there's certainly some concern about Laine's play.

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