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Game #80 Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Anaheim Ducks

Harry How/Getty Images

Your Winnipeg Jets take on an Anaheim Ducks squad looking to lock up the Pacific Division, in spite of some notable injuries.

After a seven game stretch featuring every Canadian team in the league, the tail-end of Anaheim's schedule has more of a steely edge to it. The Ducks triumphed over Dallas 3-1 on Sunday, with games remaining (in part) against the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals. Sitting atop the Pacific, a single point and game in hand over LA, the Ducks should be engaging in final playoff preparations while looking to take the division.

Injuries constitute a significant, if bearable headache for the Ducks. Rickard Rakell, Brandon Pirri, Kevin Bieksa, David Perron and Frederik Andersen are all out with various ailments. None are debilitating, however it does keep Anaheim from settling into a full-strength rhythm heading into the postseason.

Over the last six games, the Jets defeated LA and pushed both Philadelphia and Chicago to overtime, while coming out with losses against Buffalo and Ottawa. Most recently, Winnipeg defeated the Minnesota Wild with aplomb, to the depressingly dominant tune of 5-1. Their place in the standings might suggest otherwise, but this is a Jets squad which could very well win a match or two on this three game California road trip. Clayton Keller, anyone?

Catch the game tonight, 9:00 PM Central Time on NHLN-US, TSN3 and TSN 1290.

It's a Numbers Game

Winnipeg Jets

Anaheim Ducks

Record

32-39-8

44-24-10

Division-Conference-League

7th - 13th - 27th

1st - 4th - 7th

Last 10 - Streak

3-4-3 - W1

6-3-1 - W1

Goals For / Game

2.56 (23rd)

2.64 (17th)

Goals Against / Game

2.89 (25th)

2.32 (2nd)

Shots For / Game

29.7 (17th)

30.6 (11th)

Shots Against / Game

29.6 (15th)

27.5 (3rd)

5v5 Corsi For %

51.6% (12th)

52.7% (3rd)

Power Play %

14.6% (30th)

23.2% (1st)

Penalty Kill %

78.8% (25th)

86.9% (1st)

PIM / Game

11:26 (25th)

12:26 (30th)

Immediately eye-catching is how dominant the Anaheim Ducks are on both the power play and penalty kill. They lead the league in both categories; deadlier than Washington, stingier than St. Louis. The speedster Andrew Cogliano has been a shorthanded stud, while a cornucopia of players contribute on the power play.

2nd in Goals Against per game, 3rd in Shots Against per game and 3rd in Corsi For %, the Ducks are also rather ungenerous to their opponents. If defence wins championships, the Anaheim Ducks should be well-prepared heading into the playoffs. With that said, they've allowed an average of three goals against per game over the last seven, and will surely look to button down over the homestretch.

Dead last in the league, Winnipeg's power play improbably scored not once but twice on Sunday. Then again, the Minnesota Wild's penalty kill is all of 27th; an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, this was not. Regardless, let us bask in the glory of those aforementioned goals:

Gibson's Finest

Michael Hutchinson

John Gibson

Record

8-15-3

20-12-3

Overall Sv%

.905%

.920%

Ev Sv%

.903%

.919%

PP Sv%

.908%

.924%

With a record of 21-9-7 and .917 Sv%, Frederik Andersen has been good for the Anaheim Ducks. However, he suffered a concussion against Calgary on March 30th, opening the door for John Gibson to truly seize the net. It would probably suit Ducks brass just fine if Gibson took the starting job and ran with it. He is almost certainly Anaheim's goalie of the future, while Andersen's career in a Ducks uniform is questionable beyond this season.

At 20-12-3, Gibson's been no slouch himself. Among the 56 goalies with 20+ Games Played, his overall save percentage of .920% is a very respectable 12th, tied with Petr Mrazek and just behind Roberto Luongo. It should be noted however, that his even strength save percentage is significantly more lackluster. Among those same 56 netminders, Gibson's .919 Ev Sv% is a middling 38th, versus Andersen's 20th place .927%.

While Anaheim's goaltending future still looks quite assured with Gibson, the here and now is significantly more up in the air. Andersen, by the way, may return this upcoming weekend.

With 2015-16 fast coming to a close, it's time to begin seriously pondering the Jets' goaltending future. Considering Ondrej Pavelec's contract and Connor Hellebuyck's AHL dominance, tonight's starter in Michael Hutchinson would seem the likely odd-man out when it comes to Winnipeg's goaltending carousel.

Last season, Michael Hutchinson had an overall save percentage of .914% and an even strength save percentage of .924%. Those numbers have dropped dramatically this season, to a .905 Overall Sv% and .903 Ev Sv%. Both numbers are abysmal, however the latter is particularly egregious, ranking 55th among those aforementioned 56 goaltenders.

After a season such as this, Hutch's value as a tradeable asset is almost certainly next to nil. At the same time, this also leads to a situation wherein Hutch is more likely to clear waivers, especially if the decision's made early into training camp. Might Winnipeg be best served with him as a cheap, veteran option beside Eric Comrie next season?

Fawning over Hampus Lindholm

Jacob Trouba

Hampus Lindholm

GP - Goals-Assists-Points

78 - 6-14-20

76 - 10-18-28

Power Play Points

4

15

Shooting %

4.7%

6.9%

TOI / Game

21:59

22:00

PP TOI / Game

01:16

02:00

SH TOI / Game

02:45

02:10

5v5 Corsi For RelTM%

+1.1%

+7.5%

5v5 Penalty Differential

-7

-2

Hampus Lindholm is a remarkable defenceman. Among blueliners with at least 500 5v5 minutes played (sorry Paul Postma), only two have a better Corsi For% than Lindholm, those being Drew Doughty and Brayden McNabb. If you prefer traditional shots, Lindholm excels in that respect as well, with a 5v5 Shots For% of 58.9%, behind only fellow Ducks defenceman Josh Manson.

If there's a knock on the 22-year-old Swede, it's his 5v5 point production. However, the ice is very clearly tilted in Anaheim's favour whenever Lindholm is on the ice, and to a significantly greater degree compared to other Ducks d-men. It will be fascinating to see what kind of contract the pending RFA manages to negotiate.

After a six game absence, Simon Despres returns to the lineup, slotting beside Cam Fowler in light of the injury to Kevin Bieksa. Meanwhile, the Jets are set to ice that same ol' d-corps you know and love. Ho-hum:

A Warm Welcome for Brandon Tanev

Brandon Tanev, Winnipeg's NCAA signing out of Providence College, is set to begin his pro career tonight. The two-way winger has a number of desirable traits; EliteProspects describes his game as such:

Well-rounded two-way winger that can score as well as be trusted with defensive zone time. Moves the puck out well and has excellent positional recognition around the neutral zone and just inside the blueline. Great along the half wall and battles hard. Cycles well and keeps the puck moving when in-possession. Very good mobility, and his speed might be his most prominent asset. Unquestionable shot and puck skills.

Hockey's Future doubles down on the mobility point, stating that "Few collegiate players, drafted or otherwise, possess the sheer speed that Tanev does... Tanev doesn’t have overpowering size, but he more than makes up for it with his game-breaking speed and 200-foot game."

The Providence Journal's Mark Divver takes the cake however, with his wordsmithing ways leading him to the following description: "Brandon Tanev is fast, faster, fastest." Sounds as if the Jets have themselves a downright road runner, which in today's day and age is fine by me.

Rickard Rakell, the 22-year-old 2011 1st rounder with 20 goals and 43 points, is out with appendicitis. The good news for Anaheim is that he's expected to return before the playoffs commence. With Rakell out, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are reunited on the top line, while Ryan Kesler returns to the 2C role.

Brandon Pirri, who the Ducks obtained from Florida for a song and a prayer, was riding a streak of five points in five games. Unfortunately for Anaheim, he suffered an upper-body injury against Vancouver on April 1st and remains out.

According to Nostradamus

The Winnipeg Jets are going to take this one, because they really want to draft a left-handed defenceman but can't justify it with a top-three selection. Nik(olaj) Ehlers scores, Marko Dano scores, Jakob Silfverberg scores.

Jets win 2-1.

Stats, facts and automobiles provided by NHL.com, Natural Stat Trick, WAR On Ice, Hockey Analysis, Hockey Reference and The Hockey News. Thanks for reading!