The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak of the season and are eager to turn things around.
Thursday night offers the Leafs a chance to right the ship as they play host to the Winnipeg Jets for the second of three straight matchups.
The team remains first in the North division but the gap is narrowing, with the Jets only five points back (two games in hand) and the Oilers within four points.
The Leafs are not panicking just yet though, and head coach Sheldon Keefe appears confident they will get things back on track.
"“I don’t think there is any sense of panic here or anything like that,” Keefe said to reporters Wednesday. “Yet, at the same time, we have had very open discussions about things that we have done here that have contributed to us losing versus the things that we did in Edmonton, as an example, that contributed to us winning. The recipe is right there for us. We just have to go out and execute.”"
Auston Matthews continues dominance but wrist injury remains concerning
The league’s leading goal scorer found the back of the net twice in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss, bringing his total to 20 goals for the season.
All is not right with the centre though, as his lingering wrist injury has some wondering if the team should give him an extended rest.
Although Matthews was held out of practice on Wednesday, Keefe did not seem too concerned about his superstar.
"“Just a maintenance day for him today,” said Keefe. “While it affects different areas of his game, he is still able to do a lot of different things out there. In fact, he wanted to skate out there today.”"
Having the sniper in the lineup on Thursday will certainly help the team’s chances against Winnipeg but there is a growing question about what is best for him and the Leafs long-term that is not going away any time soon.
What do you think are the keys for the Maple Leafs against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night? What should the team do with Auston Matthews? Let us know in the comments below.