One Winning Streak to End in Ducks-Jets … but Total Is Best Bet

ducks jets

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, March 22, 2018 5:43 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 5:43 PM UTC

The Ducks and Jets are both fighting for second place in their respective divisions as they meet for the final time this season Friday night in Winnipeg.

Anaheim Ducks (88 points) at Winnipeg Jets (98 points)Free NHL Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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Five games on Friday’s NHL schedule, and our pick for the top matchup is Ducks at Jets with a puck drop of 8 p.m. ET from Bell MTS Place in beautiful Winnipeg (yep, I’ve been there). The teams have combined to win seven games in a row.

Barring an improbable matchup in the Western Conference Finals, this will be last meeting of the season with the winner claiming the season series. The previous two games were both in Anaheim. On Nov. 24, the Jets won there 4-1. It was 2-0 less than five minutes in on two goals by Nikolaj Ehlers and Winnipeg never looked back. He added an assist and was the No. 1 star. Connor Hellebuyck had 30 saves and the Jets were 2-for-3 on the power play. John Gibson took the loss.

On Jan. 25, the Ducks won 4-3 in a shootout. Adam Henrique, who started the season with the Devils, had a goal, assist and the shootout winner. He was the No. 1 star. Something odd happened in that one as Ryan Miller got the win without an official save; he did stop all five Jets in the shootout. However, Miller didn’t have a save in regulation or OT as he replaced an injured Gibson with 6:40 to go. Miller became only the fifth goaltender in the last 40 years to pick up a win without recording a save.

Anaheim is 13-3 in the past 16 meetings overall.

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Second Place Is Goal

These teams are somewhat in the same boat but also not. Allow me to explain. They are in that both are fighting to finish second in their respective divisions and thus have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Winnipeg seems a good NHL bet to finish second in the Central behind scorching-hot Nashville. Anaheim has won the Pacific each of the past five years, but that streak is over thanks to Vegas. The Ducks could finish second – or miss the playoffs entirely. Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose are all bunched together behind the Golden Knights.

Winnipeg has followed a three-game losing streak where it totaled four goals with three straight wins in which it has scored a combined 12. Perhaps not coincidentally, all three wins were at home, where the Jets are a terrific 27-7-2. Rookie backup Eric Comrie was in net for Tuesday’s 2-1 OT win over the Kings, but the Jets got potentially horrible news in that one as superstar Patrik Laine had to leave with a lower-body injury. The team doesn’t think it’s serious, and it better not be or the Jets are toast in the postseason. Laine has 43 goals, one back of Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead. The Finn seems likely to miss at least a few games. Should be Hellebuyck back in net Friday.

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The @NHLJets (44-19-10, 98 points) established a franchise record for most wins in a season, eclipsing the mark of 43 set as the Thrashers in 2006-07 and matched as the Jets in 2014-15. #NHLStats #LAKvsWPG pic.twitter.com/G2FPDzxrbY

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 21, 2018
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Anaheim has followed a three-game skid with four consecutive victories, allowing just four goals in that stretch and winning all by at least two. It was 4-0 in Calgary on Wednesday to open a four-game trip through Canada. Gibson had 29 saves in his fourth shutout of the season, 16th career and to improve to 12-3-1 in his past 16 starts. Andrew Cogliano had a shorthanded goal, his third this season and 16th as a Duck. That tied Paul Kariya for the most in franchise history. The Ducks are without a key guy in defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who last week had surgery to remove scar tissue from his left hand. He was given a timetable of 2-5 weeks.

I’m going to steer clear of picking a winner here simply as Laine is that important. The ‘under’ seems the wise bet for a Friday NHL pick regardless with Gibson rolling and Hellebuyck having a 2.31 GAA at home. The ‘under’ is 7-1 in the Ducks’ past eight on the road and 7-2 in the Jets’ past nine overall.

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