DUCKS at JETS
TV: USA, SN, TVA Sports, FS-W
Anaheim leads best-of-7 series 3-0
The Anaheim Ducks can sweep the Winnipeg Jets when they play Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday at MTS Centre.
Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 3-0. Game 5 will be played Friday at Honda Center if necessary, but the Ducks want to end the series before then.
"[We have] got a team on their heels, and we have our foot right on the throat where we want it, so we've just got to finish them off," Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen said Wednesday. "We don't want to give them any hope."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau did not confirm whether injured center Nate Thompson (upper body) will return to the lineup. Anaheim will be without center Chris Wagner, who replaced Thompson as the fourth-line center before sustaining an upper-body injury in Game 2; if Thompson is not ready, Tomas Fleischmann will center the fourth line again.
Anaheim goaltender John Gibson (upper body) participated in his first full practice and could be ready to play within a week, Boudreau said.
The Ducks are the first team in NHL history to win three straight playoff games when trailing at the start of the third period, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Anaheim set a League record with 18 wins when trailing at any point in the third period, but Boudreau would like to avoid having to pull off another late-game rally. The Ducks have led 6.1 percent of the time (11:21) in the series.
"It’s not one we’ve planned," Boudreau said. "We’ve come out to try to have a great first period, a great second period and a great third period. The only thing it really tells us is that the team never quits. We really would like to jump out of the gate and come back with a lead."
Whether or not Jets coach Paul Maurice plans to change his lineup is not known, but he sees reasons for optimism, even if the three close losses have put Winnipeg near elimination.
"In Game 2, Anaheim was the better team, especially early in that game," Maurice said. "They were quicker than we were. I [did not feel] that [in Game 3]. They got chances last night, and we got chances. The things we need to do better over the course of playing the hockey game, we need to do better."
The Jets have not won a playoff game in franchise history. Getting that first win Wednesday would help chisel away at Anaheim’s series lead. Pressure games have become familiar to the Jets, who needed a late-season push to clinch a playoff spot with one game remaining in the regular season.
"Our group has a lot of resolve," Jets defenseman Mark Stuart said. "We're very proud of how we got here, and what we've done all season. I mean, it wasn't easy. We worked extremely hard to get here, so there definitely is no quit. It's going to be an intense game, and that's a game that we can play."