JETBLAST: GAME 4 ANAHEIM @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Anaheim Ducks, 1st in West (51-24-7)  at Winnipeg Jets, 8th in West (43-26-13) 8:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: Sportsnet Radio: TSN 1290
Ducks lead best of 7 series 3-0
The Ducks did it again. After already being the first team to win two straight playoff games when trailing after two periods, the Ducks extended that record, as they went in to Monday’s game 3 third period down 4-3 to the Winnipeg Jets. Ryan Kesler who was serenaded by the crowd all night, tied the game with two minutes left, and Ricard Rakell scored 5:12 into overtime to stun the loudest crowd in the league. The Jets now sit on the brink of elimination, and with a franchise record of 0-7 in the playoffs, it doesn’t look good for the Jets. The home crowd will once again be pushing to get that first playoff win, and the Jets look to try and make history tonight, Jets and Ducks, game 4 from the MTS Centre, Lets Go!

Ducks

What the Anaheim Ducks continue to do to the Jets and their fans is unbelievable. Three games they have headed into the third down one goal, and in each game they have managed to not only tie the game, but to come from behind and win all three games. The Ducks are now just one game away from moving on to the second round, and in a very decisive fashion. Many were not picking the Ducks to get out of the series, but the Ducks are showing they are more than just an above average team that played in a bad division. Anaheim has shown they can play the physical game, and they can obviously score, they have multiple lines that can beat you, and more than anything they have proven there is no quit in this team. The Ducks will try to win it tonight and escape this hard hitting series with a few days to heal their bumps and bruises.

Jets

After game 1 it did not seem the Winnipeg Jets could have lost a game any more painfully. Over the three games however, the Jets losses have gotten harder and harder to deal with. The goals come later and later, the Jets keep thinking this is their night, but with minutes left the Ducks swoop in and grab the win. The struggles of Winnipeg continue to be the same throughout this series. Though Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little finally got on the scoresheet, and Andrew Ladd played his best game of the series, the Jets still need better from their best players, and their leaders. The list starts with Dustin Byfuglien, Buff has not been his usual self since returning from suspension, and it is hurting the Jets. Game 3 was a new level, Buff hurt the team with some bad pinches, some lost assignments in his own zone, and some bad selfish penalties. Byfuglien continues to be one of the most impactful players in the NHL today, he can do it for the positive, but so far in this series that has been a negative. If this series is to continue, the Jets need better from Byfuglien and the rest of the star players.

Keys to the Game

End zone Coverage: Game 3 marked a new problem for the Jets. All of a sudden they had no defensive zone coverage. Many of the Ducks goals came because the Jets simply lost their man. This is bound to happen on the penalty kill when you are a man down, but that is not what happened to the Jets. When you are playing 5 on 5 there is no excuse to allow a player from the opposing team to get all alone beside the net. Corey Perry had an empty net tap in, as did Ryan Kesler, and Rakell’s game winner he was all alone in the slot to tip the Beauchemin point shot. If the Jets continue to miss their defensive assignment, they will continue to pull the puck out of the back of their net.

Make History, One Night at a Time: Four team in NHL history have come back from 3-0 series deficits. Twice it has happened in the last five years, the Kings did it last year, and the Philadelphia Flyers did it in 2010. For the Jets to join that recent list, they cannot look at it as winning 4 straight games. They have to go out tonight and win a game, then win another, then another. It is an old phrase but you need to take it one game at a time.

Bottom six: The Jets have gotten some success from their bottom 6 forwards, in fact they have been some of their best players in this series. The Jets need more from their top 6, however, if they don’t continue to get that production from their bottom two lines, the Jets have no shot. Leading the charge has been Adam Lowry, Lowry has a point in all 3 games, and has been punishing any Duck who has possession of the puck around him. Three points is good enough for the franchise lead in playoff points, and Lowry needs to grow on that for the Jets to comeback in this series.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (0-2-0) GAA: 3.08 SV% .917
Frederik Andersen (2-0-0) GAA: 1.50 SV% .946

Injuries

Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Postma, WPG, (LBI) day-to-day

Gibson, ANA, (Hand) day-to-day
Thompson, ANA, (UBI) day-to-day

Prediction

Jets stave off elimination for at least one more night, give their home fans a show
Jets 3 Ducks 0

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!

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