Friday, March 23rd, 5:00PM PST
Bell MTS Place
Radio: AM 830
The Enemy: Artic Ice Hockey
The Anaheim Ducks look to make a statement as they take on the Winnipeg Jets Friday night in their second matchup of a four-game road trip. The Ducks started off the road-trip in a great way by shutting out the Calgary Flames 4-0 Wednesday night. John Gibson was the star of the game as he stopped all 29 shots faced to record his fourth shutout of the season. The victory was huge as it all but mathematically eliminated the Flames from earning a playoff seed this season as well as eliminated the Edmonton Oilers. With the win, the Ducks moved into third place in the Pacific Division but could find themselves in fourth place if the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night. The Ducks are 11-4-1 in their last 16 games and are currently enjoying a four-game win streak.
The Winnipeg Jets recently defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in OT. The win gave the Jets their 44th victory of the season which set a new franchise high. The victory also allowed the Jets to further distance themselves from the Minnesota Wild as they have an eight-point cushion and sit in second place of the Central Division. The Jets find themselves with a three-game winning streak and a chance to accomplish a 100-point season. Their recent victory did come at an expense, at least for a couple games. The Jets will be without Patrik Laine who is suffering from a bruise after blocking a shot. This is great news for the Ducks, as Laine has 43 goals and 68 points in 73 games this season and recently had his 15-game scoring streak snapped in which he had 18 goals and 8 assists.
All Eyes On Me
John Gibson has been an absolute stud since the All-Star Game. Since January 30th, Gibson has 16 starts and sports a 12-3-1 record. During that time, he leads the NHL with a 1.73 goals against average as well as a save percentage of .944. If that’s not enough, he also has 3 shutouts in his last 7 starts. At this point of the season, the Ducks will need the best that Gibson can offer, and thus far he hasn’t disappointed. For the season Gibson is 29-17-6 with a 2.41 GAA and a .926 SV% which goes to show just solid his second half performance has been.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks will need to generate more pressure against the Jets than they did against the Flames if they are to come out victorious. Although the Ducks were efficient in their game against the Flames and generated almost equal scoring chances, they still only managed 16 shots on goal and allowed 29. The Jets are a much tougher opponent than the Flames with greater forward depth. As good as Gibson has been, if the Jets can manage that kind of shot differential, the outcome will be different for the Ducks. Anaheim is ranked 21st in the NHL with 2.78 goals per game so they can’t rely heavily on being “efficient” especially against one of the league’s best teams.