WINNIPEG – The stakes for the Winnipeg Jets are very clear when they play Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at MTS Centre (9 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, NBCSN [JIP], TVA, SN,PRIME).
Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 2-0, leaving Winnipeg with the task of having to win four of the final five games to advance to the second round. The Ducks went 3-0-0 against the Jets in the regular season.
"I think we're just trying to get some momentum back our way in this series," Jets center Bryan Little said Monday after the morning skate. "Tonight is a huge game. They can either take a pretty good commanding lead or we can make it a new series, and the momentum [will be] in our hands. It's kind of put everything on the line and see what happens tonight."
The Jets are hoping for a home-ice boost in Winnipeg, where the city will host its first playoff game in 19 years. The Jets went 23-13-5 at MTS Centre in the regular season, including a 12-2-2 run in the second half.
"It's a really special day for the people that have been here a long time, losing a team a number of years ago and then having it come full circle," forward Blake Wheeler said. "It's a great day for the people of Winnipeg. For us as players, we're more focused on the task tonight. It's going to be a celebration for our community, and we're excited to be a part of it."
However, Jets players realize the need to control their emotion in front of their home fans and avoid penalty trouble against a Ducks power play that has caused them problems in each of the first two games.
Coach Paul Maurice will stress 5-on-5 play in Game 3. Anaheim has three power-play goals in seven opportunities in the series. Winnipeg has not scored in its seven power-play chances.
"You're always trying to walk that line," Little said. "I think we're still trying to find that a bit. It's not like we've been taking a ton of penalties, but we're losing the special-teams battle right now, so we have to be extra careful."
Maurice will deploy the same lineup he used in Game 2 at Anaheim. Captain Andrew Ladd again did not participate in the morning skate, but he will dress for Game 3. Defenseman Tyler Myers also did not practice, but he will remain in the lineup.
Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets.
With three goals in their first two playoff games, the Jets need to start producing offensively. Ladd does not have a goal in his past 13 games, and Little has one assist in seven games since returning from an upper-body injury at the end of March.
"Five-on-five, we're at three and three [goals], for [each team]," Maurice said. "I would concede that [Anaheim] had a higher number of chances in Game 2 than in Game 1."
"We are going to need to get above the ledger 5-on-5, on the positive side of that, given where the special-teams race is at right now. So we will be looking for things we can do, those [top-end] players, but also our whole group to increase the general offense of our team."
Here are the projected lineups:
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Jakob Silfverberg
Emerson Etem - Tomas Fleischmann - Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler - Simon Despres
Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen
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
Adam Pardy - Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers
Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba
Scratched: Ben Chiarot, Andrew Copp, Keaton Ellerby, TJ Galiardi, Matt Halischuk, Jay Harrison, Eric O'Dell, Anthony Peluso
Injured: Grant Clitsome (upper body), Paul Postma (lower body)
Status report: Harrison skated with Enstrom in place of Myers in the morning skate and Halischuk replaced Ladd. ...Chiarot will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.
Who's hot: Lowry has a goal and an assist in his first two games of the series. … Stuart leads the Jets with 11 hits and six blocked shots.