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Maple Leafs hope to earn long-awaited victory in Winnipeg
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try for their first victory in Winnipeg in over 17 years when they visit the Jets for Thursday's meeting at MTS Centre.
Toronto's last victory in Winnipeg was on Nov. 1, 1995, when the Leafs downed the original Jets, who are now known as the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Maple Leafs and Winnipeg split four meetings in 2011-12, but the home team won every game in the season series. The Jets, who relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg prior to last season, are off to an excellent start at home this season, posting a 3-1-0 mark as the host so far.
Both the Maple Leafs and Jets ended losing streaks in their last outings. Toronto halted a two-game slide with Tuesday's win at Washington, while Winnipeg posted an overtime win over Florida on the same night to end a string of three straight defeats.
Winnipeg went 0-3 during a three-game road trip, but rebounded with Tuesday's 3-2 victory over the visiting Panthers. Bryan Little netted the deciding goal with 15.2 seconds left in overtime to lift the Jets.
Little's game-winning goal came on the power play after Florida's Filip Kuba was whistled for tripping with 2:10 remaining in the extra period.
The Jets could not put together much offensive pressure during the man advantage as the Panthers kept clearing the puck out of their zone, but one of those clears led to a late rush, which saw Little receive a pass after breaking free in the slot. He then fired a wrister past Florida netminder Scott Clemmensen's glove and inside the right post for the deciding tally.
"It's nice to win after a tough road trip. but it would have been nice to get the two points clean," said Little. "I think it was a pretty sloppy game, but you know two is better than nothing, so I think we're pretty happy with that."
Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart also scored for Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec made 17 saves.
The Jets played their third straight game without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who is sidelined with a lower body injury. Byfuglien, who has three goals and seven points on the year, is questionable for Thursday's contest.
Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Tuesday and then held on for the 3-2 win over the Capitals. James van Riemsdyk netted Toronto's first two goals, giving him six tallies on the season.
"I got some lucky bounces and I was able to put them in," van Riemsdyk said about his goals.
Korbinian Holzer also scored, while Ben Scrivens stopped 24 shots for Toronto. Holzer, who was recalled from Toronto's AHL affiliate to fill in for injured defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, posted the first goal of his NHL career.
Gunnarsson is questionable for Thursday's contest with a strained hip.
Toronto is 4-1-0 as the road team this year compared to a 1-4-0 mark at home. The Leafs are playing the middle test of a three-game swing on Thursday and will close the trip Saturday in Montreal.
02/07 10:43:09 ET
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