For some, it may seem obvious to call the Anaheim Ducks the favorites and the Winnipeg Jets the underdogs, as Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice did to the Winnipeg Sun.
Then again, considering the Jets’ strong finish and the Ducks’ recent history of playoff disappointment, it makes sense that Maurice still hast to come out and say it.
“We’re a huge, decided underdog in this series,” Maurice said. “They finished first, best team in the Western Conference. We didn’t. But we have some confidence in our game.”
Maurice praises the Ducks’ skill and size, pointing out that “you don’t finish first in the Western Conference by accident.”
Again, though, there are some who will look at the Jets as serious upset threats.
Beyond the scorching-hot finish for Winnipeg – particularly frequently embattled goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who ended the year on the run of his life – the Jets have been a strong possession team during the entire season and final stretch. They boast an array of quality forwards (especially underrated guys like Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little), a deep defense when healthy, and now possibly the goaltending they’ve been craving.
In other words, those who are paying attention probably think that the Jets shouldn’t sneak up on the Ducks at all, yet it’s understandable why Maurice might want to play that card.