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Photo Credit: © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

JGD 78: Last Call For Duck Season

The Winnipeg Jets will have one last chance to solve the riddle that is the Anaheim Ducks when the visitors from Disneyland invade the MTS Centre. The Ducks have won the two previous encounters this season and have won 8 out of the last 9 games against the Jets which includes the Ducks sweeping the Jets in the 2015 playoffs.

Lineups:

Winnipeg (35-35-7)

When oh when will the Jets realize it’s time to see what the future has in store and let go of the past? Chris Thorburn does not need to be in the lineup nor should he be in the lineup. It’s time for the likes of Marko Dano, Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic to show what they can do. Connor and Roslovic are still in the AHL so they do need to be recalled but Dano was a healthy scratch, Tuesday night in New Jersey. He should be in instead of Thorburn but we’ll wait to see what Paul Maurice decides.

Julian Melchiori recorded his first NHL point Tuesday against New Jersey as his point shot was tipped home by Blake Wheeler. It hasn’t been easy for the defenceman. His 41.9% CF% is the lowest amongst Jet skaters although his sample size is small. Still, Melchiori has to show more if he wants to earn a job next season with the big club.

Michael Hutchinson has been better recently than Connor Hellebuyck but it’s anybody’s guess who will get the call between the pipes against the Ducks. Hutch started last Friday in Anaheim and had an excellent game despite the Jets losing. Hutchinson recorded a .941 save percentage against the Ducks but didn’t receive any offensive help from his friends up front.

Anaheim (42-23-11)

The Ducks have plenty of depth up front. So much in fact that Corey Perry has been moved down to the third line. The Ducks are loaded with players that have done considerable damage to the Jets. Perry, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg all have enjoyed success against the Jets in recent games. I guess a duck can fly further than a jet.

Hampus Lindholm is an underrated defenceman who deserves more credit around the league. After holding out to start the season, Lindholm leads the Ducks with a 54.1% CF% even though he’s not known as a huge point producer. Lindholm is a smart, puck moving blueliner that every team needs.

Jonathan Bernier has been getting the bulk of the workload lately and has looked sharp. Bernier has started the last 8 games for Anaheim and has recorded a .942 save percentage during that stretch. Bernier may have supplanted John Gibson as the number one goalie with the playoffs fast approaching. If Bernier continues his strong play, he’s likely the man the Ducks turn to for their cup run.

Predictions:

Game Prediction: The Ducks are battling for top spot in the Pacific Division. The Jets are playing for pride. While the Jets seem to play better when the pressure is off, Anaheim has their number. It’ll be close but Ducks win 3-2.

Obvious Prediction: The Ducks will make the playoffs. The Jets won’t.

Not So Obvious Prediction: Kyle Connor will get called up before the game and dress. It’s a long shot but why not.