JETBLAST: ANAHEIM @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

 Anaheim Ducks (17-6-5) at  Winnipeg Jets (14-9-4)  2:00 p.m., MTS Centre,
TV: TSN3 Radio:TSN 1290

The Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks face off for the first time this season, and first of two times in a weeks time, when the teams clash for a Saturday afternoon match up at the MTS Centre. The Jets come in, winning 4 of their last 5, and earning points in each of those games, while the Ducks come in riding a 3 game winning streak and as the Western Conferences top team. The way the Jets are playing however they will not be intimidated by Anaheim, the Jets played their best game of the season Friday and will be looking to continue the trend. Two teams that have been playing some great hockey recently clash for what could be a fantastic match up Sunday afternoon, Jets and Ducks, Lets Go!

Ducks

There is nothing but positives for the Ducks so far this season. Tied for first in the league, the Ducks have lost only 6 games all season, they have proved themselves to be contenders already at this stage of the season. The one area of concern at this point for Anaheim is on the injury list, where they continue to add players game after game. The most recent addition to that list is  Corey Perry, Perry left Anaheims game on Friday with a lower body injury and there is no timetable for his return. This is a huge loss for the Ducks, their second leading scorer this year and one of the NHLs best goal scorers in the last decade, will leave an obvious hole in their lineup. The Ducks did the Jets a favour on Friday night beating the Minnesota Wild, the team directly behind Winnipeg in the standing, 5-4. It was a back and fourth game which saw Anaheim jump out to a 3-0 lead, then the Perry injury happened and it seemed to fall apart for the Ducks and they gave up 4 straight goals to fall behind. You don’t not get to first place without facing a little adversary however, and the Ducks battled back in the third to get the tying and go ahead goal to earn the win. The Ducks look to make it 4 in a row Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg.

Jets

It was the game Jets fans have been waiting for all season. A game that had a little bit of everything but most importantly, a dominating Jets performance. From start to finish Winnipeg had control of the game and earned their 6-2 win. The biggest thing however was that Winnipeg could have had 6 in the first period if not for the stellar play of Semyon Varlamov, who kept the game close single handedly until the third period. For a team that has struggled to score all season it was a very important game for Winnipeg. Throughout the game we also saw all kinds of rough stuff, some great penalty killing, a goalie getting pulled with nearly 15 minutes left, and to top it all off, the first Jets hat trick. Bryan Little finally broke the Eric Boulton curse and got a hat trick for the home team. It was a special moment for everyone in attendance and definitely for Little himself. Anytime you can get a nearly 5 minute standing ovation as well as a crowd chanting your name it has to feel great and no one deserves it more. Little has proven himself to be a guy who can compete night in and night out with the leagues top centres and he is excelling. Leading the Jets in goals, points and plus minus, Little has become one of the undisputed leaders of this team and one of the most important players to the Jets success

Keys to the Game

Battle down the Middle: The battle between the two top Centres will be a prime match up Sunday afternoon. Bryan Little has been great this season but he will get a huge test against one of the leagues best players and maybe the best Centre in the game. Ryan Getzlaf poses a huge challenge to Little, especially in the size category, Little needs to be able to compete with Getzlaf if the Jets want to win.

Pavvy: Another very good performance by Michael Hutchinson puts the pressure back on the number one Ondrej Pavelec, who gets the call against one of the leagues most potent offense’s. Pavvy will need to be great to keep the Jets in this game, the way he has played all season gives you confidence that he can do it again Sunday afternoon in a big spot.

Take Advantage: It is rare that you  get to play against a team who is missing one of their top players, let alone of the top players in the world. The Ducks look to be without Corey Perry and that could tilt this game in a whole other direction. The Jets need to take advantage of this absence and get a win against a weakened top team in the NHL.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (9-8-2) GAA: 2.21 SV% .919
Frederik Andersen (13-4-4) GAA: 2.50 SV% .912

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
LaBarbera, ANA, (Broken Hand) out
Beauchemin, ANA, (Broken Finger) out
Heatley, ANA, (Groin) out
Gibson, ANA, (LBI) out
Lovejoy, ANA, (Hand) out
Souray, ANA, (Torn Wrist Ligament) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 5-3-2
Duvks: 6-3-1

Prediction

Winnipeg Stays hot and takes out a tough opponent
Jets 3  Ducks 1

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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!