The Winnipeg Jets have been a breath of fresh air in recent months, winning 13 of their 18 National Hockey League games since the beginning of the campaign. After a fairly difficult era for the franchise, it is refreshing to see Winnipeg back in the Stanley Cup title race although they are out at 30/1 in the outrights with 888Sport. Both offensively and defensively, the Jets have been solid and consistency will be key if Paul Maurice’s side are serious about reaching the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are struggling again. Less than two years since reaching the Stanley Cup, San Jose are in decline and it is a tough time to be a Sharks fan. It hasn’t exactly gone to plan for the Pacific Division franchise this year and another defeat could be on the cards if Winnipeg perform at their brilliant best. It certainly isn’t going to be easy for San Jose – even in the Shark Tank. Check out our thoughts on Sunday’s contest.
San Jose Sharks
With six wins in their last 10 league games, San Jose have turned their form around in recent times but it is still difficult to back the Sharks. The Pacific Division is difficult but there is an aura of inevitability surrounding San Jose at the moment. You just feel that they are going to lose whenever they take to the ice. The Shark Tank has been a favourable arena to host NHL action in years gone by but the tide is starting to turn.
KEY MAN: Brent Burns. A defenseman by trade, talented goal scorer by nature. The Sharks would be struggling even more without Burns on the roster and San Jose fans will expect a big performance from their main man this weekend. Ranked as the NHL’s unluckiest shooter this season, his luck is SURELY going to turn at some point in the near future? Could he end his current hoodoo in this fixture? Possibly – he could help to inspire the Sharks for the rest of the campaign.
With seven wins in their last 10 National Hockey League appearances, Winnipeg are one of ice hockey’s in-form franchises. Scoring 69 goals during the regular season puts the Jets as an elite attacking unit and conceding just 57 in the same time frame shows just how solid the Canadian outfit have been defensively. Keeping the Sharks out completely is no easy feat but Winnipeg will be confident of a sustained effort at the back.
KEY MAN: Patrik Laine. Laine has racked up 16 points in 21 NHL games so far this season and it would take a brave man to back against the Winnipeg star here. The Sharks have a tight defensive unit on the whole but Laine has the skillset to make the breakthrough. With 11 goals and five assists, he can be the difference maker for the Jets this weekend and his influence and impact will be a major factor on the final result.
The Jets are building something special and Winnipeg fans are rightfully excited. On paper, this is a tough one to call but a win for the visitors here will send out a statement of intent – the Shark Tank isn’t the easiest place to go and win. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination but a Winnipeg Jets triumph could be on the cards; and there may be a few goals at both ends. A 4-2 victory for the travelling Canadian side may be the way to go…
SHARKS 2-4 JETS