WINNIPEG — Paul Maurice wishes the Maple Leafs had trounced the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Instead, the Leafs had a six-game winning streak snapped when they fell 7-1 in Dallas.
“We’re not expecting any residual (effects),” Maurice, the coach of the Winnipeg Jets, said on Saturday following his team’s morning skate at the MTS Centre.
“I would prefer they had won 7-1 because they would be coming in here fat and happy. But they are not. They are going to be ready to play.”
The Leafs (27-21-5) who will finish a four-game trip, did not hold a morning skate. Manitoba native James Reimer will start in goal against the Jets, while coach Randy Carlyle had hinted on Friday that there could be a change on the blue line. Neither Paul Ranger nor Mark Fraser has been in the lineup much in recent weeks.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Reimer and several teammates. Carter Ashton, Colton Orr, Troy Bodie and Frazer McLaren also hail from the province. McLaren, who practised for the first time on Friday after missing five games with a bruised shoulder, has not been activated off injured reserve.
The Jets (23-24-5) have been no slouches under Maurice, winning their first four games before a 1-0 loss in San Jose versus the Sharks on Thursday night. The players see Maurice, who coached the Leafs from 2006-08, as a confident coach, and that has seeped into the way they are approaching games now.
“He is trying to get our team skating and that is what we do well,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said. “We’re a good skating team. He has tried to get us moving, working hard to get back defensively.
“Confidence is a huge part of this game, a part that nobody understands unless you have played in the NHL.”
Goalie Ondrej Pavelec will start in the Jets net. Winnipeg rookie centre Mark Scheifele leads all freshmen with 19 assists.
The game will be a matchup of two of the youngest teams in the NHL, as the Jets’ average age is 26.6 years and the Leafs are at 27.0 years.
For Carlyle, it’s another return to the city where he starred for the Jets as a player and later earned his coaching chops with Manitoba of the International Hockey League and then in the American Hockey League.
Carlyle began his head coaching career with Manitoba Moose in the IHL in 1996-97.
“Hockey blood runs through the province, I can tell you that,” Carlyle said. “I enjoy coming back here. I come back in the summer and go fishing with my friends, but coming back to a work environment is different.”