Look no further than the Winnipeg Jets here. After a fairly hit and miss start to the 2017/18 campaign, the Canadian franchise are now shining in the Central Division. Sitting two points behind the Nashville Predators at the top of the table, Winnipeg are 12/1 in the Stanley Cup outrights with Bet365 and have a real chance to climb above their rivals before the end of the regular season.
With six wins in their previous 10 National Hockey League games, the Jets are heading in the right direction and it would take a brave man to back against Winnipeg on current form. As of February 16th, Paul Maurice’s side are 50/1 to win the Stanley Cup – an excellent price considering their talented roster.
For the Avalanche, this is about putting an end to their poor run of form on the road. You wouldn’t bet against Colorado on home ice but away from Pepsi Center, they do tend to struggle. That could end up being the difference between reaching the playoffs and sitting at home and watching the action on television.
This one has all the makings of an exciting, end-to-end encounter though and hockey fans will be looking forward to the clash. If Colorado can find their best form, they have enough to challenge Winnipeg – even on the road. You won’t want to miss it…
One Step Backwards, Two Steps FORWARDS For Jets
Ignore the media; Winnipeg ARE on the cusp of greatness. The Jets are blessed with enough quality to go deep into the postseason this year – even if a few of the national reports may argue against that belief. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Winnipeg pip Nashville to the divisional crown and the Canadian franchise would be deserving of such a feat.
With just 15 regulation time defeats, the Jets are proving very difficult to beat and that can only be viewed as a positive for Winnipeg backers. In addition, they lead the Central Division in goals scored (183) and also boast an excellent defensive record with just 154 conceded at the other end of the ice.
KEY MAN: Blake Wheeler. At risk of repeating ourselves, Blake Wheeler is our key man to watch this weekend. Hockey fans are running out of superlatives to describe Wheeler’s play; the Jets star has 61 points to his name already this season.
With five points coming in the last five games, Wheeler is a man in form and he will look to extend his points scoring run this weekend. Colorado will need to be both strong and stable in defense to stop the Winnipeg star from adding to his growing tally.
Strong At Home, Fragile On The Road
Home form is always key in the National Hockey League but you cannot afford to collapse on the road – and that is exactly what Colorado have done this year. The Avalanche, still in the mix to compete for playoff glory, will need a change in fortune away from Pepsi Center in order to make the step up to elite status in 2017/18.
With Nathan MacKinnon already ruled out, Colorado will need to be resolute and resilient as a unit to stand any chance of a positive result. The visitors may struggle though, they have lost four road games in a row and that trend looks set to continue.
KEY MAN: Mikko Rantanen. In MacKinnon’s absence, the onus will be on Rantanen to score the goals and lead Colorado to victory. With 52 points so far this campaign, he is influential for the Avalanche and he could make all the difference if luck is with the visitors.
The Jets look well placed to go on and win this game but they might not blow Colorado out of the water. Winnipeg have enough quality to break the Avalanche down and that will be telling – expect the Canadian outfit to come out on top in a hard-fought encounter.
JETS 4-2 AVALANCHE