Jets to find Ducks to their liking

The Winnipeg Jets have one again made the Bell MTS Place one of the tougher trips on the NHL schedule and will be brimming with confidence after big wins over Colorado and Dallas. In contrast, the Anaheim Ducks can’t get out of their own way right now and cross the border on a 10-game losing streak.

Ducks relishing chance to take flight

It has been a rotten home stand for Randy Carlyle’s boys, bringing little joy to an area synonymous with the ‘happiest place on earth’. The Ducks losing run has seen them slip out of the play-offs places and they sit a point behind Minnesota having played a game more as they now head out on the road.

Goals continue to be the issue for Anaheim, who are still without Chris Perry. Only the hapless LA Kings have managed to light the lamp on fewer occasions in the entire Western Conference, not a good tendency heading into a shootout.

Even with Patrik Laine having only scored in one of his last 12 games, the Jets have been relatively consistent in front of goal at home, notching seven in the win over Colorado and five against Dallas in their last two on home ice.

Mark Scheifele is the man likely to do the damage against the Ducks after putting together four points scoring performances on the bounce, while he has two goals in five appearances against Anaheim.

Winnipeg have won three of the last four meetings and are worth taking on the -1.5 on the puck line at 2.38.

Islanders to fend off Tampa invasion

The New York Islanders have performed above and beyond expectations in recent weeks, putting them in pole position for a wildcard spot. 10 wins from the last 12 matches has demonstrated that there is life after John Tavares and that they made a smart move picking up head coach Barry Trotz when he left Washington during the off-season.

However, their play-off credentials will be sorely tested by the Lighting when they make the trip to the Barclays Center as part of their three-game road swing.

Tampa Bay lead the NHL in every stat that matters right now after a run of 17-1-1, amassing the most wins, points, goals and highest power play percentage as they race towards the President’s Trophy. They are the 3.75 favourites to win the Stanley Cup, with everyone else trailing in their wake.

Nikita Kucherov has been playing like a man possessed in recent weeks, collecting 54 points from his last 26 games. He will put Islanders in-form goaltender Robin Lehner to the test, the recent pick-up by New York having become only the fourth goalie to register eight or more consecutive victories with the win over the Rangers on Friday.

This will be a serious test of how far Trotz has taken the Islanders but they are worth taking +1.5 on the puck line at 1.49 to keep it close.

Flames too hot for Arizona

Home form was the key reason why the Calgary Flames missed out on the play-offs last season but they have made huge strides towards correcting that this year, netting a conference-high 93 goals at the Scotiabank Saddledome on route to recording 13 regulation wins in 22 matches.

Elias Lindholm has proved to be an excellent addition with 52 points in 46 games and the Swede has started 2019 in good form with four goals in his last seven games.

They look destined for at least a play-off place and are the 2.50 favourites to win the Pacific Division. They should boost their title hopes during their ongoing home stand with Arizona the next team to visit.

The Coyotes were thrashed 6-1 the last time these two met but results have improved lately, winning the last two, giving them an outside shot at the play-offs. Who knows how much closer the men from the desert would be had it not been for some terrible luck on the injury front, topscorer Brad Richardson becoming the latest name to go on injured reserve this week.

With the Flames having netted two or more in their last nine and Arizona having conceded two or more in their previous eight road games, the Calgary win looks too short with going over on the goal line at 1.84 makes sense.