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Jets hope home crowd provides boost vs. Ducks

by Patrick Williams /



Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 2-0

The Anaheim Ducks can take a 3-0 series lead when they play Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday at MTS Centre.

Anaheim could be without center Chris Wagner, who sustained an upper-body injury in Game 2. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau could not confirm whether Wagner would make the trip, but he said that goaltender John Gibson and center Nate Thompson would travel to Winnipeg. Each player has an upper-body injury.

Boudreau expects a hostile environment in Winnipeg, where the city will host its first playoff game since April 28, 1996.

"We’ll talk about it a little bit, but it’s not like we don’t know what’s coming," Boudreau told the Ducks website Sunday. "I don’t think we’ll ever underestimate how loud it’s going to be, and how the city of Winnipeg itself is going to be. It’ll be pretty wild."

Jets coach Paul Maurice is hoping for a home-ice boost.

"There have been a number of games where we didn’t have anything in the tank, and our crowd drove us through games to pretty big wins," Maurice told the Jets website Sunday. "We lean on our crowd an awful lot."

The Jets have made a habit of pouncing on visiting teams early in games at MTS Centre, but the Ducks continue to prove that a deficit going into the third period is not an obstacle for them. In each of the first two games of the series, Anaheim trailed going into the third period and rallied to win.

The Ducks are the first team in playoff history to have a 2-0 series lead when trailing at the start of the third period in each of the first two games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Anaheim’s 18 wins when trailing at any point in the third period set an NHL record during the regular season. The Ducks’ 12 wins when trailing after two periods also set a League record.

"I think a lot of it is mental, the belief in the [dressing] room that we have the ability to do that," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "Throughout the course of the season, you have to prove it to yourself that you can do that, and that’s certainly something we’ve been able to do."

Winnipeg will need to find a way to handle Anaheim’s speed in Game 3. The Ducks have been able to take over in the third period, and the Jets have not been able to counter that.

"These games are so tight," Maurice said. "That’s the painful and frustrating thing about it [Sunday]. There is another level that we can get to. It’s not something that you see during the regular season, but there is another place that we can get to. We’re going to need to be closer to our best game than they are to win."

The Jets franchise has never won a playoff game. Playing as the Atlanta Thrashers, it was swept by the New York Rangers in the 2007 Eastern Conference First Round.

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