Winnipeg Jets (43-27-13) at Anaheim Ducks (52-24-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday April 18, 2015, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -150 / Winnipeg Jets +136 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Jets look to even the series with the Ducks and head back to Winnipeg with home ice advantage while Anaheim can build on their success from Thursday's 4-2 victory.
The Winnipeg Jets have been one of the more underrated teams all season long and despite finishing with an impressive record and getting into the playoffs they have virtually been given no chance at winning the series against the best from the west in Anaheim. However, this Jets group is highly motivated, has a ton of size, and have the edge over the Ducks in terms of goal differential which can make a huge difference come playoff time and while the Ducks will not be an easy task – in fact they'll be incredibly tough to beat – it is not out of the realm of possibility. Winnipeg has some great pieces up front, a bruising blue line, and an inconsistent but good goaltending tandem that is capable of winning a playoff series but if they're going to beat the Ducks they'll need to get it all done at the same time.
The Ducks have been a tough out for opponents for the past 24 months and they were a win away from the Western Conference finals a season ago yet somehow they still don't get pegged as the team to beat in the West thanks to the perception of difficulty of the Pacific division. Typically, the Pacific is seen as the best in hockey as the likes of LA, San Jose, and Vancouver are among the game's best but the transition this season to the Central being dominant has skeptics and St. Louis fans smiling as they are the team to beat in the eyes of many. Anaheim got the win in game one but they also trailed by a 2-1 score and could very well have lost if not for a crucial third period goal that ended up being the difference. The Jets don't need to panic if they lose here as you're not in trouble until you lose at home and while I think they have a great chance at winning here I think we see a much tighter game where the body plays a role.