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Western Conference Quarterfinal, Ducks/Jets: "Expert" Predictions

Hockey writers from around the country handicap the Ducks/Jets series.

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Honestly, I think that the AC community knows more about the Ducks than any national hockey writer, but here are are some previews and predictions from about the Ducks/Jets series from the heavy hitters in the national hockey media:

The Ducks are the overwhelming favorite to advance out of the quarterfinals, with 11 of 15 experts picking them to defeat the Jets. Interestingly enough, both John Kreiser and Jamie McLellan believe that the Ducks will make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Kreiser anticipates a Ducks/New York Rangers matchup (with the Rangers winning the Cup), and Kreiser anticipates a Washington Capitals/Ducks matchup (can't tell if trolling...) with the Ducks winning the franchise's second Stanley Cup, and captain Ryan Getzlaf winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Also via, the Ducks have a decided advantage in the percentage of fan brackets that have them moving on to the second round. bracket percentages round 1 2015

Puck Daddy

Most of the Puck Daddy team (plus several guest contributors) are taking the Ducks in 5 (Chuck and Pants from "What's Up, Ya Sieve?"), 6 (Sean Leahy, Jen Neale, Nick Cotsonika, Sam McCaig) , or 7 (Josh Cooper, Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, Greg Wyshynski). Contrarian blogger extroadinare Ryan Lambert is taking the Jets in 7. His rationale:

"Winnipeg/Anaheim is another coin flip, but I went with the marginally hotter team (Jets have three regulation losses in the last month to Anaheim's four)."

Sean Leahy's take on the series is much more common:

"Anaheim is another team many are expecting to go out early, because that's what Bruce Boudreau teams do. Winnipeg has dealt with injuries and a goaltending situation that's flipped from Ondrej Pavelec to Michael Hutchinson and now back to Pavelec. Both have been playing some good possession hockey since the trade deadline, but like the Blues, the Ducks should have enough offense to advance."

Interestingly enough, Josh Cooper argues that if the Ducks' WCQF matchup was with the Calgary Flames, he would have picked the Ducks for the Stanley Cup Final. Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, PD's fantasy hockey guru, still has the Ducks in the Final, albeit losing in 6 to the New York Rangers.


About the Ducks: "From a 5-on-5 standpoint, this is probably the premier series in either conference...the Ducks, a 52.7 per cent Score-Adjusted Fenwick percentage over their last 25 games, fifth-best of any playoff team." - Travis Yost

About the Jets: "The Jets’ strong possession game was bolstered down the stretch with additions made at the trade deadline (Myers, Stafford, Stempniak, Tlusty) and they are a decidedly better team with Dustin Byfuglien playing defence. Big Buff could play an important role if he gets matched up against Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry - the Ducks’ top forwards who typically thrive by cycling the puck low in the offensive zone where they can outmuscle defenders. That might not be so easily accomplished against Byfuglien." - Scott Cullen

PREDICTION:  "Anaheim has a tendency to get caught in their defensive zone against teams that can establish their presence. and had the fourth worst save percentage since the trade deadline. Winnipeg had the fourth best goals-against and eighth-best save percentage since the trade deadline and this became a strength of their team - not a question mark. This is the upset special as Anaheim faces a team that gives them a matchup problem. Winnipeg not only returns to the playoffs - they advance." - Craig Button

Sports Illustrated

About the Ducks: "The Ducks will rely heavily on Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, as they always do. The pair rank among the most impactful in the game, playing a heavy, grinding style that’s certain to produce results. But what’ll put this team over the top is an improved supporting cast. Ryan Kesler gives them the second-line center they’ve needed for years, a battle-tested warrior who creates a match-up problem for the opposition."

About the Jets: "The Jets could find an edge by playing as much of the series at even strength as possible. Winnipeg topped Anaheim in all the critical five-on-five metrics including goals ratio (the Jets were eighth at 1.15 compared to 1.04 for the 15th rated Ducks), goal differential (+22, seventh, to +9, 13th) and save percentage (92.8, ninth, to 91.9, 21st)."

PREDICTION: "If I could pick one game to attend in the entire first round, I’d take Game 3 at MTS to watch the best fans in the league finally celebrate a home playoff date. It’ll be a madhouse. Or maybe a madhouse. Either way, it’ll be a blast. That said, they better enjoy it while it lasts. I expect it to be tough series, but Anaheim’s ridiculous 33-1-7 record in one-goal games reveals a championship-caliber ability to close the deal. Sorry, Jets fans. No upset here. Anaheim in six." - Allan Muir


(.com of course, there's no hockey on ESPN, silly goose)

About the Ducks: "For the Ducks, I'm curious to see how or whether Sami Vatanen steps up in the postseason. The Finnish defender was having a breakout season when he went down with a lower-body injury in February that cost him more than a month. He has not scored since his return, but before the injury he had 12 goals and seven of those were on the power play. (Did we mention the Ducks' power play stinks?) If Vatanen, who had three assists in 10 games since returning, can chip in at his previous pace, the Ducks will be in good shape."

About the Jets: "Let's start with Lee Stempniak for the Jets. That's right -- Lee Stempniak. A low-profile addition from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline, Stempniak has filled in nicely as a depth forward on a team that will need lots of depth to move past the Ducks. In 18 games since the trade, Stempniak has picked up six goals and four assists playing mostly with Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault. If he continues that solid production for the Jets, the Cinderella story might not end with a pumpkin just yet. "

PREDICTION: "This should be fun. And who in the hockey world isn't waiting to see just how loud the MTS Centre gets when playoff hockey returns to Winnipeg for the first time since 1996? But we still think this Ducks team is just a little better and a little bit more prepared for the playoff journey. Ducks in 6. - Scott Burnside

CBS Sports

About the Ducks: "Coming into the season, Anaheim was literally the heaviest team in the league with an average weight of 210.1 pounds, according to James Mirtle's annual height and weights averages."

About the Jets: "That said, the Jets are a very dangerous wild card team. They have the speed and physicality to skate and mash with the Ducks. Winnipeg may even be due a slight edge in goaltending going into the series. This is another series that very well could go the distance and no one would bat an eye." - Chris Peters

PREDICTION: Chris Peters picks the Ducks in 7, and Adam Gretz picks the Jets in 6.


The two most prominent Sportsnet broadcasters, Nick Kypreos and Elliotte Friedman, are picking the Jets to advance. The Canadian Jets homerism is strong with this bunch: Mark Spector and Luke Fox pick them in 7, and Chris Johnston and Damien Cox pick them in 6.

Fortunately, there are some rational people among this bunch: Dan Murphy, Eric Engels, and Thomas Drance pick the Ducks in 7, and Gord Stellick picks us in 6 (and also picks a Montreal Canadiens/Anaheim Ducks final, with Ryan Getzlaf winning the Conn Smythe Trophy).

USA Today

About the Ducks: "1. Teams have a tough time competing against Anaheim's center combination of Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. 2. The Ducks improved their defense with the trade deadline acquisition of veteran James Wisniewski and rugged, skilled youngster Simon Despres. Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen provide offense from the blue line. 3. The Ducks are difficult to play against when they have the lead. They won 94% of their games when they led after two periods."

About the Jets: "1. The line of Andrew Ladd, Little and Blake Wheeler is among the NHL's top 10. If this unit is playing high octane hockey, the Jets usually take off. 2. D Dustin Byfuglien is a 260-pound force with the potential to take over a series with his physical play and offensive abilities. 3. The Jets have a strong bond, excellent chemistry and overflowing confidence.They believe."

PREDICTION: "This series is dangerous for the Ducks because the Jets have momentum. They don't accept that they are supposed to lose this series. Take the Ducks to survive in seven games." - Kevin Allen

Well, it might be more fun to watch hockey in Winnipeg, but most of the talking heads are predicting that the Ducks will take this round.