Winnipeg Jets (33-33-9) at Anaheim Ducks (48-18-8)
|Date & Time||Monday March 31, 2014, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -205 / Winnipeg Jets +186 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Anaheim Ducks look to maintain their Pacific division lead as they host he Winnipeg Jets at the Honda Center on Monday night.
The Jets have been an average team from start to finish this season as supported by their .500 record heading into game 76 and they have played their way out of the playoffs in the last couple of weeks. Winnipeg looked as though they were ripe to go on a late season surge but with just three wins in their last 10 contests it is safe to say they won’t be competing for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup for another year. The Jets have made some franchise altering decisions this season but they mainly came off the ice as they let Claude Noel go and replaced him with Paul Maurice who should be the team’s bench boss throughout the offseason and well into the next couple of years. Winnipeg does have the pedigree to succeed but haven’t been able to produce results and that should make for a frustrating yet motivating offseason for the Jets’ players.
The Anaheim Ducks have been as consistent as they come this season and look like a powerhouse heading into the playoffs in a couple of weeks. The Ducks currently hold down the Pacific division lead and are in the two hole in the Western Conference standings but with the realignment of the league playoff system taking effect this year they could be forced into playing the LA Kings in the first round if they can’t hold off the San Jose Sharks. Anaheim is talented and if they can manage to slip into the second seed they’ll have a pretty solid matchup against either Phoenix or Minnesota but from there they’ll have to play against the winner of the Sharks and Kings series which I don’t think favours them in either circumstance. As for tonight, I don’t see any other result than a beat down by the Ducks as they need wins like this to maintain their lead and I think the possibility of playing the Kings will act as motivation for a strong finish.