A half period.
A contender’s refusal to the throne.
The best line of Toronto maple leaves smoked Winnipeg jets early in the morning and mostly on Wednesday night, topping the Canadian division by three points and for the fourth month in a row.
Funny. Much of the pre-game debate for the 5th round of the Jets-Leaves revolved around line matches. How Paul Burns’ last change and ability to throw bubble-burster Pierre-Luke Dupois and responsible players Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastney on the boards against Aston Mathews, Mitch Morner and Zack Hyman will be the solution.
“This is the regular season, isn’t it?” Maurice spoke about the adjustment of his staff and the small changes that could open up the recipe for judging a particular adversary. “You have to understand your team once the regular season is over.”
But the way Hyman-Matthews-Marner bathed a tired Jets team, we had no idea that any mix of players could have them.
With 11 minutes to go before the battle for first place, Mathews and Hyman each scored, Marner found himself another prize-worthy organization, and the trio had two-point nights of their own as the Leaves won 3-1.
“We were only thinking about our game, how important it was to get out of a lead,” Hyman said. “They’re a good team, so we wanted to get over them quickly.”
The goal has been achieved.
The Jets, who had flat feet on the first game date after a seven-game road trip, were surrounded by both humiliation and injury in the first period, never recovering. During a sluggish T-zone scene, DuPont defenseman Derek Forford passes over, resulting in Matthews cleaning up a Hyman reunion. And Wheeler left the game with an unknown injury. (Clarity on Wheeler’s condition will wait “a couple of days” for Maurice.)
“They came out hard,” defender Josh Morrissey said succinctly. “We lost the first period, we lost the game.”
The Jets’ solo goalie Morrissey invented the rope, while DJ Brody served the double miner to pull Stastny’s teeth out of his gums. But Alexander Kerfoot hit the top-shelf in the quickly compressed section to get even the special teams out.
Morris’ team closed with more force, and Friday’s review will be another opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t.
It should now be understood that his opponent Shelton Keefe will only trust Hyman-Matthews-Marner as his default top three. Testing 41-year-old Joe Thornton as a top winger further shrinks the rearview mirror.
In their 10:37, Hyman-Matthews-Marner not only scored twice, but also scored 98.4 percent of the expected goals, creating eight high-risk points without allowing anything. Hyman, making breakthroughs and driving blue paint all night, had six shots in the first period.
“Those two are superstars. I’m going out and trying to do my job, ”Hyman said.
Such dominance is most interesting when you realize that they started the majority of changes in the defensive zone and were called upon to lock up the Jets ’final six-five push-ups.
“They had a lot of tabs. They were around the side, they hit the net. That’s the source of two goals for us. There’s nothing too fancy about that. Work with all three of them,” Keefe said. “All three really came out and really made a difference. . “
This season, Hyman-Matthews-Marner have now beaten the opposition 18-8 when they are together. Marner (plus-18), Hyman (plus-17) and Matthews (plus-14) are one-two-three in the plus / minus team. Three of the pioneers in the division are ranked in the top 10 leagues.
“[Matthews and Marner] The defense has been good from the start of the season, ”Keefe said. “Both of them have really worked, really focused on it. Every night they play against the other team’s best players. Often these are the best players in the world. Tonight is very similar again here, those guys do that job.”
One question to ask: is this the best 200-foot line in the NHL?
“I think the way they attack is incredible, how strong the players are, how hard they work defensively, coming back and the little plays they do. They all come back, take the bucks, test the stick, take the body. They make amazing plays.” Said goalie Jack Campbell, who improved his perfect record to 7-0-0.
“Mickey is one of the best penalty killers I’ve ever seen. He’s very smart there. They play together, they have amazing chemistry and they have amazing results.”
Campbell’s own results were not so bad.
His saving percentage is a brilliant .948, and he has conceded two-sixths or less in six of the seven scattered starts – all of which, while battling with a leg injury, Manitoba squeezed into extra work ahead of Tuesday’s Charter of Steve Briar. .
“As a competitor and as a teammate, sometimes I feel bad, others get a few days off when they grind. It gives me more fire in my stomach to do it when I am called,” said Campbell, who always pushes the positive out of the well.
“I mean, I play for the Toronto maple leaves. This is so awesome. So, there is nothing to be bitter about at any time. I was so lucky to be here and spoiled. Hang out with Cool Toots and play some hockey, so this is not a bad time. ”