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Ducks/Jets Game 3 Preview: Beware the White Walkers

In order to push Winnipeg to the brink of elimination, the Ducks will have to withstand what is sure to be some harsh white-out conditions at the MTS Centre.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned From Game 2:

The Ducks are refusing to let themselves get bullied by Winnipeg's muscle. For the second straight game, Anaheim was the harder hitting team, as they served some justice 48 times (two more than Thursday night) to the Jets' 33 hits. Patrick Maroon and Matt Beleskey were the team's biggest punishers, dishing out seven hits each.

The depth scoring showed that it can present itself when it needs to as well. Ryan Getzlaf didn't exactly have a night comparable to Game 1 (37% in the faceoff circle, one shot on goal, secondary assist), and Corey Perry was kept off the score sheet despite getting six pucks to the net.

Big Dog Maroon was the one who broke through the Winnipeg wall halfway through the third after getting thwarted on a breakaway opportunity earlier in the night. The game winner came from one of the slickest releases in the league, owned by one Jakob Silfverberg. Andrew Cogliano also put five shots on net, and although he didn't cash in on any of them, he's a player that Winnipeg would be wise to keep an eye on.

The Jet defense allowed a few Ducks to sneak behind them on Saturday night, but if that's ever Cogliano on the receiving end of one of those stretch passes, you're not catching up to him. He's also becoming a dangerous presence on the penalty kill, simply due to the fact that if he can cleanly pick off a pass, he's got himself a breakaway. Game 2 was a friendly reminder that even though there are only three big scorers on this roster, there are many more that have the skill and the will to make teams pay if they're ignored for too long.

One thing we definitely didn't learn from Saturday night's matchup is the kind of goalie that Ondrej Pavelec will be for the rest of this series. He came into the playoffs hot, winning two of the Jets' last three games while not giving up a single real goal (one loss to Colorado in shootout). He took a step back in Game 1, but almost stole the second game.

Pavelec is a goalie with zero prior playoff experience at the NHL level who has been one of the most pedestrian starters in the league for almost his entire career. He's stepped his game up this season, especially after winning back the No. 1 spot from rookie Michael Hutchinson, but will we continue to see the Pavelec that showed up on Saturday and a good portion of the regular season, or will his lack of postseason play cause him to regress back to his Game 1 form, similar to how he's been for most of his time in the big leagues?

We also learned that the Ducks are one of two teams in the playoffs who have earned a 2-0 series lead after the first few days of the postseason, so that's pretty neat too!  And not to tempt magumbo, but the other one (Montreal) is now up 3-0.

What Needs to Change From Last Game:

The Ducks played some pretty strong hockey on Saturday night, despite the fact that you wouldn't know it just by looking at the final score. As a matter of fact, according to Elias Sports Bureau, the Ducks are the first team in NHL history to snag a 2-0 series lead after entering the 3rd period on the wrong side of the scoreboard in both games. However, if Anaheim allows that trend to continue in Winnipeg, the rowdy fans that will be packing MTS Centre to capacity won't be as kind to the visitors and their comeback efforts.

Jet players still know the series is far from over, and as the National Post and Metro News cover in greater detail, the home team will be bringing their 'A' game fueled by the intensity of a contingent that is more than ready for their first playoff action since April 28, 1996. Should the Ducks fail to strike quickly, they will allow more time for the Jets to siphon momentum from the Winnipeg White Out, and against a good team that's desperate to avoid a 3-0 series deficit, that will likely not end very well.

Moving forward, it also wouldn't be a bad idea to not throw any players directly in the path of your goalie either. *coughKeslercough*

Game Notes:

Per Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, John Gibson and Nate Thompson will be traveling to Winnipeg with the team, while Chris Wagner will be staying back after suffering an upper-body injury in Game 2. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume Thompson could draw back into the lineup tonight with the lack of centers, but if he's still not ready to go, Cogliano could slot into a center position.

According to speculation from Frederic Chabot, Paul Maurice will keep his lines as-is and focus on improving its play in the neutral zone above switching his players. With Bruce Boudreau, on the other hand, it might be a pretty safe assumption that the Duck lines will be very similar to the last two games, with the exception of the aforementioned depth chart down the center.

Fearless Prediction:

Clayton Stoner has himself a multi-point game because GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?!?!