Can they do it? Can they finally do it? Can the Winnipeg Jets finally go on a three-game winning streak? It hasn’t happened yet this season but they’ll get a chance to go streaking as the Anaheim Ducks pay a visit to the MTS Centre. This is the first meeting between the two clubs this season.
Patrik Laine participated in his first full practice with body contact since suffering a concussion on January 7. The rookie sensation won’t be ready for this game but could be back in the lineup later this week.
Drew Stafford is day-to-day after suffering a lower-body injury in Saturday’s win over St. Louis and won’t be in the lineup against Anaheim. This means more line juggling for Paul Maurice. Don’t be surprised if Nic Petan moves up on the depth chart and sees action with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers. With Stafford’s injury, Brandon Tanev draws into the lineup.
Slowly but surely, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey are becoming the two best defenceman on the Jets. Maurice has yet to put them together as a pairing but it may happen before the season is over. If this pairing does eventually happen, it would reunite Toby Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien. The two veterans had success together in the past. Just a thought.
The Jets will ride Ondrej Pavelec for the next while. While the fans and media have raved about Pavelec’s play, he hasn’t been perfect. His save percentage is .914 through two games which is good, but whether he can sustain that long-term is questionable. He has made spectacular saves and given up soft goals in both games. Pavelec has been helped by an offence that has started clicking as well. Goal support is a goalie’s best friend save for goal posts.
Many don’t like him and for good reason, but Ryan Kesler is having a terrific season for the Ducks. The former Manitoba Moose leads the Ducks with 39 points (18 G, 21 A) while manning the middle on the Ducks second line. Kesler can drive opponents crazy with his skill, and his antagonistic behaviour. He’s no fun to play against.
Hampus Lindholm held out at the start of the season due to a contract issue, but since he returned, he’s been a rock on the Ducks blueline. His 54.8% CF is best on the Ducks while playing tough minutes. Lindholm is an excellent puck-moving defenceman who has good vision and hockey instincts. An underrated player.
John Gibson is starting to live up to his potential. The former World Junior star has a .921 save percentage to go with a 2.27 GAA and 3 shutouts. Gibson was seen as the goalie of the future but went through some struggles early in his career. But the team was patient and it looks like Gibson has turned the corner.
Game Prediction: Last two times I predicted the Jets to lose, they won. Reverse psychology is awesome. Ducks win 5-3.
Obvious Prediction: Kesler and Corey Perry will do something that will make the Jets mad and they’ll get booed lustily by the Jets faithful.
Not So Obvious Prediction: Pavelec gives up a goal from centre ice and the fans will turn on him. i know, too cruel but I’m never right with these ones.