JETBLAST: ANAHEIM @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Anaheim Ducks (20-6-5)  at  Winnipeg Jets (15-9-6) 6:00 p.m., MTS Center,
TV: CITY Radio:TSN 1290

For the second time in a week the Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks will meet, once again in the friendly confines of the MTS Center. Last Sunday the Ducks managed a 4-3 overtime win in a very positive game for the Jets. Since then the Jets won in Dallas and lost Thursday in a shootout in Colorado on a mini two game road trip. On the other side of the puck, the Ducks have now won 6 straight, including last nights 4-2 win against the struggling Oilers. The Ducks are not only the best team statistically, but probably the hottest team going right now. There is a silver lining for the Jets however as they will get another crack at the Ducks coming off less than 24 hours since yesterdays game. The Winnipeg Jets try to gun down the Ducks tonight at the MTS Center, Lets Go!

Ducks

Simply put, the Anaheim Ducks are great. Their current win streak now equals the amount of losses they have all season and they have pulled 4 points up on anyone else in the league. Though the Ducks haven’t knocked off any top teams in their current win streak, the Jets are the only playoff team they have beaten in that stretch, it does not make it any less impressive. The interesting thing about the Ducks is that they do not do any one thing spectacularly. When you look at the stat sheet the Ducks don’t lead in much of anything, but every number is near the top, and there is no area of the game that they struggle with. Anaheim can be one of the scariest opponents in the NHL but no team is immune to fatigue, and the Ducks will have to battle to be their normal selves, especially against the hard working Jets.

Jets

For the first time in a long time the talk around the Winnipeg Jets is negative after blowing a lead against the struggling Colorado Avalanche. The Jets led throughout the game including a 2 goal lead into the third period before being taken over and dominated for the final 20 minutes by the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs scored two goals to tie it and scored on both their shots in the shootout to grab a 4-3 win, and hand the Jets a very disappointing loss. The Jets will change up their roster a bit heading into tonight’s match up with the return of Evander Kane. Back from serving a suspension, Kane will look to give the Jets a boost. He excels on the forecheck and if he can finally break a slump can be a huge offensive force for the Jets. Apart from that, the Jets will rely heavily on Michael Hutchinson who is expected to get the start tonight. Hutch has been great this year, and against a high powered offense like the Ducks, Winnipeg will need him to play strong to keep them in the game. The Jets saw both Western teams in the race lose last night in Calgary and LA, so tonight will be a rare opportunity to pull away in the standings and with St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville, and Minnesota all in action tonight, these game could have huge repercussions on the Jets playoff position.

Keys to the Game

Getzlaf: Last time these two teams met I wrote that the battle of the top center ice man would be a huge spot where the game was decided. Ryan Getzlaf managed 3 points in that game and was a force for the full 60 minutes and change. Winnipeg needs to keep the big Ducks forward in check if they want to win tonight.

Take it to them: The Jets should be far fresher than Anaheim who are coming off a game last night in Edmonton. The Ducks are sure to have a little fatigue, especially later in the game. Winnipeg needs to take the game hard to Anaheim all night, tough forecheck, finishing checks at every opportunity, and playing fast. If the Jets can force the Ducks to exert themselves just a little bit more than normal, they have the advantage in tonight’s game and with the possibility that the Jets will be facing a back up goaltender, that may be enough to get a W.

Control Emotions: The Jets took to many penalties the last time these two teams met and they paid for it giving up two goals with the man down. They will also deal with the return of Evander Kane, who earned a two game suspension for a hit from behind the last time these teams played. Kane brings a different element to the Jets, and a lot of emotion to the game, He will battle hard but he needs to stay in check, as well as the rest of the Jets, who may have to deal with the Ducks going for a little bit of retribution.

Starting Goalies

Michael Hutchinson (6-1-2) GAA: 1.67 SV% .941
Jason Labarbera (2-0-1) GAA: 2.61 SV% .909

Injuries

Enstrom, WPG, (LBI) out
Clitsome, WPG, (Undisclosed) day-to-day
Bogosian, WPG, (LBI) out

Perry, ANA, (LBI) day-to-day
Brewer, ANA, (Broken Foot) out
Beauchemin, ANA, (Broken Finger) out
Heatley, ANA, (Groin) out
Gibson, ANA, (LBI) out
Souray, ANA, (Torn Wrist Ligament) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 5-2-3
Ducks: 8-2-0

Prediction

Jets get their win back against Anaheim
Jets 4  Ducks 2

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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!