It is still early days but the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking strong as they look to win the Stanley Cup this year. We are just 10 matches into the 2018/19 National Hockey League campaign but Toronto are looking like one of the premier contenders to win hockey’s top prize.
John Tavares has adjusted quickly to life with the Maple Leafs and both he and franchise superstar Auston Matthews have been in red hot form in recent weeks. Toronto have notched a league-leading 38 goals through 10 regular season games; some achievement.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets are also performing admirably over in the Central Division. With six wins and an overtime defeat in their 10 encounters, the Jets are shining and this is an immediate opportunity for Winnipeg to avenge Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat to the Maple Leafs.
The Scotiabank Arena faithful will be expecting big things from Toronto this weekend. At this moment in time, there’s little question as to who the dominant force north of the border is but Winnipeg will fancy their chances and this should be an exciting contest for neutrals.
Expect Fireworks In Toronto This Weekend
The manner of Toronto’s victory over Winnipeg earlier this week raised a few eyebrows; the Maple Leafs are serious Stanley Cup contenders. In fact, many bookmakers have Toronto as market principles to win the famous trophy for a 14th time this year.
Currently topping the Maple Leafs in terms of points is… Auston Matthews. No prizes for guessing that one, Matthews has notched 16 points in 10 games and he could challenge for the Player of the Year award on current form.
Should Matthews struggle, Toronto have three more players with more points than games played – the Maple Leafs are blessed with so much strength in depth. John Tavares, Mitchell Marner and Morgan Rielly have stepped up in recent weeks and their form is as important to Toronto’s success as Matthews is.
For Winnipeg, it is more about the collective than individual talent. The Jets have worked hard to form a balanced roster and plenty of punters will be backing the road team to spring a shock this weekend.
Mark Scheifele may be their man to watch. With five goals and five assists, he is a consistent goal scorer whilst also assisting his teammates in key areas on the ice. If Winnipeg are to snag a surprise win, he will need to play well.
Pressure? What Pressure?
Toronto are heading in the right direction and the Maple Leafs are relishing the chance to perform as Stanley Cup favourites. Mike Babcock is an experienced head coach and all the signs point towards a deep playoff push in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Jets are going about things in their own way and you have to respect Winnipeg for that. Toppling the Nashville Predators in the Central Division will be no easy feat but Winnipeg have the tools needed to go close in their pursuit of glory. Write the Jets off at your peril…
A repeat of Wednesday’s result could be on the cards. Toronto have enough quality to score at will but Winnipeg should be able to keep the Maple Leafs at bay to a certain extent. This one is evenly poised and it will be interesting to see how Babcock’s men react if Winnipeg take an early lead.
Auston Matthews has been simply sublime in recent weeks and he is the man to watch in this encounter. Sit back, relax and watch one of the most gifted players in the NHL work his magic – he is bound to make a positive impact at some stage.
TIP: Toronto to win
CORRECT SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 Winnipeg Jets