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Jets confident they still can win series vs. Ducks

by Patrick Williams /

WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers had a simple question after the morning skate before Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday at MTS Centre (9:30 p.m. ET; USA, TVA Sports, SN, FS-W).

"Why not us?" Myers said of the Jets, who trail the best-of-7 series 3-0 and face elimination. "Why can't we do it?"

The Jets are winless in six games against the Ducks in the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In each of their three losses in the series Winnipeg has surrendered third-period leads; Anaheim has outscored Winnipeg 6-0 in the third period in the series.

"[The Ducks are] good at what they do," Jets center Bryan Little said. "They're a good team at keeping the pressure up the whole game and never giving up. They finished where they [did] in the standings for a reason.

"I think it's a mixture of playing a good hockey team and maybe us getting a little tight at the end of games. When it happens a couple times in a row it adds even more pressure to it when you're fighting for a lead at the end of the game."

Jets coach Paul Maurice played coy about his lineup after the morning skate; however, defenseman Ben Chiarot could replace Adam Pardy in a pairing with Dustin Byfuglien. Pardy did not participate in the morning skate.

Maurice also swapped centers in line rushes during the morning skate, moving Little to the second line with left wing Drew Stafford and right wing Blake Wheeler while Mark Scheifele skated between left wing Andrew Ladd and right wing Michael Frolik. Maurice did not clarify whether he would go with those lines for the game.

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets.

The Jets have led the Ducks 36.3 percent (67:19) of the time in the first three games of the series; the Ducks have held the lead 6.1 percent of the time (11:21). Two of Winnipeg's three losses have been by one goal.

"[The series] definitely could be 3-0 [Jets], but it's not," Little said. "They have the lead and we can't really do much about that now except try to win tonight and go from there. It's really simple what we have to do and we're really focused on getting the job done tonight."

For a team facing a possible sweep after three close losses, there was no evidence of frustration inside the Winnipeg dressing room, where "Why Not Us?" and "Stick Together as a Team" were written on the whiteboard.

Maurice wants a loose team for Game 4 as the Jets attempt to get the first playoff win in franchise history; the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers are 0-7 in the postseason.

"We've got to love every minute of this because it doesn't get any better until it does," Maurice said. "There's a lot, there's everything, our entire season riding on the line. I want those men walking [to] that ice. This is a good day to be a hockey player here in Winnipeg. Enjoy it."

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Kyle Palmieri

Emerson Etem - Tomas Fleischmann - Tim Jackman

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Jiri Sekac, James Wisniewski

Injured: John Gibson (upper body), Nate Thompson (upper body), Chris Wagner (upper body)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Drew Stafford - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Adam Lowry - Lee Stempniak

Jiri Tlusty - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Andrew Copp, Nikolaj Ehlers, Keaton Ellerby, TJ Galiardi, Matt Halischuk, Jay Harrison, Connor Hellebuyck, Eric O'Dell, Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso

Injured: Grant Clitsome (upper body), Paul Postma (lower body)

Status report: Ladd, Myers and Perreault did not participate in the morning skate, but Maurice confirmed that they will play. … The Jets recalled Ehlers, the ninth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, from Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Wednesday but he will not dress in Game 4.

Who's hot: Ladd, who had 12 hits in Game 3, leads all players in the series with 17 hits. … With an assist in Game 3, Lowry has one goal and two assists and leads the Jets in scoring with three points. He's also tied for the Thrashers/Jets all-time playoff scoring lead.

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