The Vegas Golden Knights will go down as the surprise team of 2017-18, but following closely behind are the Winnipeg Jets. Both the Knights and Jets are playing at the top of the league, as they’ve experienced incredible growth this season. Vegas weren’t even a team last year, and the Jets finished with a record of 40-35-7. Not bad but they were hanging around .500 all season long and couldn’t manage to reach the playoffs. The Jets are currently 2nd in the Central, trailing the Predators by 6 points for the lead.
They have a 9 point cushion on the final wildcard, so they aren’t completely out of the woods yet, but it would have to take a bad choke job to sit out of the playoffs. They’re playing for home ice at the moment, which is particularly important for this team. The Jets are a tough out at home with a record of 24-7-2. No team wants to travel up there to Winnipeg, but the Jets have found a way to use it to their advantage. On the road, though, things are a bit of a coinflip. The difference between holding home ice advantage and not may come back to be critical in the playoffs.
As far as the Hurricanes are concerned, they’d just be happy to reach the playoffs. With a record of 29-25-11, it’s been good enough to afford them an opportunity of earning a wildcard. As it stands now, the Canes are in control of the final wildcard position. However, they’re in a dead heat with the Blue Jackets who have 69 points as well. In other words, this is a big game for both teams on Sunday. After dropping six games in a row, the Hurricanes looked good in 4-1 and 3-1 wins over the Flyers and Devils. Conversely, Patrick Laine lead the Jets past the Red Wings, 4-3, in their last outing. Winnipeg have won six of their last eight games. Get our free Jets vs. Hurricanes pick below.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Carolina Hurricanes Pick
If the Hurricanes reach the playoffs, they’re going to be up against a pretty good team in the first-round. As of today, Carolina would be pitted against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Good luck with taming the Bolts, but that’s why they play the games, and the playoffs in the NHL can be wide open. For now, the Hurricanes must find a way to tame the sizzling Winnipeg offence. The Jets have averaged 4.1 goals per game in their last ten outings. They’ve scored at least 4 goals in seven of their last eight games, with an average of 4.75 per game.
However, the Jets have allowed 12 goals in their last three games. If anything, a team with an elite offence is going to give them some issues. Connor Hellebuyck is good, but he can be hot and cold. Which Hellebuyck we get in the playoffs is going to be the deciding factor for how far the Jets will go. They hold up offensively, but a mixed bag otherwise. In fact, the Jets are 3rd in the NHL overall with 3.36 goals per game. All of you called that one, right? Laine and Blake Wheeler have given this team a much needed jolt on offence. The Hurricane defence looked great in their last two games, but we should see some regression on Sunday. The Hurricanes are playing in their third game in four nights, and I believe it’s going to catch up to them here, at least on defence. In any event, the price on the Jets looks a bit trappy. I think the odds makers are looking for a potential letdown spot here on the road. Instead, the OVER looks like the safer play in Raleigh.
PICK: OVER 5.5 (-110)