The Leafs came out with “jump” in the pre-game warmup and even to start the game. They looked ready and were. They dug in, were aggressive in the pursuit of the puck, tenacious on the forecheck, and won the battles along the boards. They had the Jets “chasing’ the game for 2 periods.
The first eight minutes was played at an elite tempo and blazing speed. You could sense the excitement of the fans and respect for two very skilled teams.
The Jets fans were disappointed but marveled at the talents of Matthews, Marner (especially) and how fast the team was.
Winnipeg has an exceptionally talented team and ironically Ehlers broke a goal scoring slump similar to Kadri and the pucks should start going in more frequently for both.
Outside of a 10-minute span in the third when the Leafs sat back (they cannot sit back on teams, they have to be the pursuer and set the pace, too much skill not to) the Jets made it close but a brilliant play by Marner who undressed Byfuglien to set up Tavares for a tap-in, took the air out of the building and the Jets.
Solid solid road win.
Test will be locking down at home in the rematch Saturday. Need same effort on the puck!