For the second night of a road back-to-back, tonight’s game should have an unusual amount of spirit to it. The Jets are taking on the Anaheim Ducks for the first time since the 5-2 loss at home that finished the playoff sweep last April.
The Jets and the Ducks come into this game in sixth and seventh places in their divisions, respectively. Each team will need to play much better from here on out to return to the playoffs, but the Ducks face a much easier road in the limp Pacific Division.
After a great effort from the Jets last night in San Jose, we’ll get to see if the emotion from last season’s playoffs spills over into tonight’s game. Puck drop is at 8pm central time.
Both lineups courtesy of Daily Faceoff
The Jets are still missing Mark Scheifele, so Adam Lowry continues to centre the second line. Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford combined for a gorgeous goal against the Sharks last night on the PK; hopefully they can bring that chemistry to 5 on 5 play tonight.
Edit – news on Scheifele right after we posted this, of course:
Scheifele activated from IR. Halischuk sent back to the Moose. Joel Armia stays up with main roster.
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) January 3, 2016
The Jacob Trouba – Dustin Byfuglien top pairing continues, to mostly good effect. The duo have been really strong together, and give the Jets a top pairing that matches up well against just about any line in the league.
That Stuart – Chiarot pairing, on the other hand, has a 43.8% corsi this season. Ooft.
Connor Hellebuyck is expected to get the start again tonight, as the Jets continue to ride their talented young rookie
into the ground.
The Ducks have been wildly underwhelming this season. They were a popular pre-season pick to win the Cup this season, but are second-last in the inarguably the worst division in the league. Ryan Getzlaf has just three goals. Ryan Kesler, 13 points. Their best players at forward aren’t getting it done for them.
Anaheim’s top blueliner, Cam Fowler, is out for 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee. In his absence, the Sami Vatanen – Kevin Bieksa pairing should be absurdly entertaining. Chances all over the place at both ends of the ice.
In net, John Gibson is expected to start for the Ducks. Battle of the young netminders!
Obvious prediction: Hellebuyck looks a little worse for wear playing both halves of a back-to-back, on the road, in his first NHL season. Can’t blame the guy if he lets in a few softies.
Not so obvious prediction: Dustin Byfuglien is going to roll right over someone tonight. It’ll be awesome.
Game prediction: Back-to-back, on the road, without Scheif? 3-1 Ducks.