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Leafs blast Jets 4-0

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Game preview

TORONTO — The Winnipeg Jets have some making up to do tonight.

They play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre  on the heels of Wednesday night’s 7-3 defeat in Montreal.

“We looked at tape this morning and some of the things we need to be a lot better at and now it’s time to move on,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd said this morning.

Poor checking was one of the deficient areas identified by the team’s coaching staff on Wednesday.

“It’s just the play away from the puck,” Ladd said. “When we have the puck, we’re making good decisions. It’s getting the puck back quicker and obviously a couple of turnovers we don’t need.”

The Jets and Leafs are tied in the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings with 43 points each and records of 19-15-5.

Winnipeg, now 5-9-4 on the road, hasn’t won a game this season on the back end of a back-to-back situation, 0-4-1. Their best outing in that scenario was here earlier in an overtime loss.

“Back-to-backs are never easy,” Ladd said. “I think the thing is that you have to make the other team make mistakes and keep it simple.

“Your energy is probably not as high as it normally would be, so you have to play some smart hockey.”

The Jets didn’t have a whole lot of that on Wednesday when they started off their four-game road trip.

And that was a big disappointment given their successful December, a month that ended last Saturday with a 3-2 win over these Leafs in Winnipeg.

That game was intense, to say the least and Ladd didn’t disagree that something could be building with Toronto.

“Yeah, I think anytime you’re in a battle, especially against a team like the Leafs, they’re easy games to get up for,” he said. “They’re two teams and I don’t know how much they like each other and it’s always fun to play here.”

Tonight, the Jets aren’t likely to have centre Bryan Little back in the lineup. Little, who’s been out since Dec. 17 after blocking a shot, did skate this morning but is more likely to re-appear on Saturday in Buffalo or next Tuesday in Boston.

As well, defenceman Dustin Byfuglien remains out with a lower-body injury. Jets coach Claude Noel said this morning that Byfuglien’s return could still be in play for Tuesday.

As a backup plan, the Jets have again recalled forward Patrice Cormier. Cormier was recalled last Thursday and sent back down to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on Sunday.


Updated on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM CST: Adds quotes

6:54 PM: Adds with 1st period Leafs goal

7:07 PM: Adds second Toronto goal

7:48 PM: Adds score after 2nd period

7:56 PM: Updates with 3rd Toronto goal

8:09 PM: Updates with Toronto's 4th goal

8:30 PM: Adds final score

10:00 PM: Adds colour, quotes

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