The New Jersey Devils are right on the cusp of qualifying for the playoffs and every game is now of vital importance. Currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division, the Devils rank as the seventh strongest team in the Eastern Conference and fans will be urging their side to push on and guarantee their spot in the postseason.
A 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens last time out helped to snap a three-game losing run and New Jersey cannot afford to struggle at this stage of the campaign. With a difficult set of fixtures approaching, winning here is an absolute must. The Devils could find themselves out of the playoff spots by the end of next week…
But backing against the Winnipeg Jets on current form would be very foolish indeed. Having won eight of their last 10 NHL matches, including their last three in a row. The Canadian side are heading in the right direction and building momentum is vital ahead of the playoffs. At this moment in time, the Jets are bang in contention for the Stanley Cup.
In fact, you can bet on Winnipeg to win hockey’s ultimate prize at 14/1 with 888Sport and the Jets may be Canada’s best shot at the NHL title. The Toronto Maple Leafs, led by the talented Auston Matthews, are also in the mix but Winnipeg almost look destined for big things this year.
Slumping Devils Must Turn Things Around
New Jersey have won five of their last 10 NHL fixtures and the Devils will be determined to push on and secure a playoff berth. After five years of missing out on the postseason, John Hynes’ side are now ever so close to ending that run – supporters are dreaming of a Stanley Cup run.
Winning the NHL’s top prize may be a little far fetched but you’ve got to be in it to win it and it would take a brave man to write New Jersey off completely. At 40/1, they represent solid value as a dark horse.
KEY MAN: Taylor Hall. Wow, what a season Taylor Hall is having. If the Devils do make the postseason, it will be predominantly down to his efforts. With 74 points in 62 games, Hall is doing incredible things on offense – he leads the team in both goals (30) and assists (43). He could be set for another hugely influential game here…
Jets Unstoppable Right Now?
Winnipeg are very strong though and you’d have to make the visitors favourites to secure a huge road win here. Currently ranked second in the Western Conference, the Jets will try to hunt down the Nashville Predators at the top of the Central Division but accumulating as many points as possible must be the initial priority.
The Jets have won their last four on the road and another win looks likely here. Neutrals will be keeping a close eye on this encounter – particularly those north of the border. It could be a telling sign as to whether Winnipeg are genuine contenders or hyped up.
KEY MAN: Blake Wheeler. It has been a team effort for Winnipeg in 2018 but Blake Wheeler deserves extra recognition for his contributions. Leading the Jets with 75 points – including a mammoth 58 assists – he has been sensational this year and Winnipeg fans will be expecting big things in the coming months. Wheeler’s form and fitness will be key to their postseason aspirations.
A difficult one to predict. New Jersey have potential but you must go with the form book in these kind of fixtures – Winnipeg should be too strong here. A road win for the Jets will send a reminder to their Stanley Cup rivals; this Canadian franchise IS the real deal.
DEVILS 2-4 JETS