Date: Sunday, January 13th
Time: 3:00 PT / 6:00 ET
Location: Bell MTS Place
TV: TSN3, PRIME
The Enemy: Arctic Ice Hockey
The Anaheim Ducks begin a five-game road trip in Winnipeg and start against one of the toughest teams to play against in the Western Conference. The Jets were in the Western Conference Final last season and lost to the Vegas Golden Knights during their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Jets have been struggling against the expectations that were raised for them this year, despite the fact that they currently sit tied for first in the Central Division with the Nashville Predators. They have had a couple injury concerns recently with Nikolaj Ehlers, Dustin Byfuglien, and now Tyler Myers all missing games recently. Despite this, their offense is still extremely dangerous and the Ducks will no doubt have their hands full again.
The Ducks are coming off a game against a team with their offense clicking, and the Pittsburgh Penguins showed exactly what a team can do against a team with consistent defensive breakdowns in their own zone. The Pens were able to hang a cool seven goals on the Ducks, despite the fact that John Gibson made a few miraculous saves early in that game. It could have easily been 10+ goals had Gibson played poorly.
The Jets are coming off a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings and are still looking to make the statement that they are the powerhouse of the Western Conference, so I do not expect them to take this game against Anaheim lightly. If we can remember back to a couple years ago when the Ducks were the powerhouse of the Western Conference (yes, they actually used to win games), they would always look to make big statements when struggling teams would come to Honda Center, and this will be no different.
If the Jets are able to find a way to get through the Ducks defense and get in front of John Gibson, the Ducks could be looking at another game of at least six goals against. Something will have to change if the Ducks expect better results. That can lead us down the road of “Well, why hasn’t Randy Carlyle changed anything if something needs to change and the results are all the same?”, but I advise you to just check out this article from our very own Jake Rudolph instead.
Player to Watch
My player to watch in this game is John Gibson, for two reasons. First, the Ducks cannot win without him, so really, it all boils down to whether or not he can be Superman anyway. Second, he’s the only player on the Ducks that I really have any interest in watching right now anyway.
Keys to the Game
Win - I’m keeping this to a bare minimum. There are all kinds of keys to the game that we can continue to point out, but the Ducks haven’t been playing like a team that looks like they have direction anyway, so my only key to today’s game is to win. Just find a way. I don’t care what it takes, and I don’t think any other Ducks fans do either.