Winnipeg signed Steve Mason to a two-year contract in the offseason to be its top goaltender, a job that now belongs to Connor Hellebuyck, but as the Jets visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday they have two netminders who are playing well. Mason made 38 saves Wednesday as the Jets grinded out a 2-1 road victory against Los Angeles, holding off the Kings off in the final minutes as Winnipeg earned at least a point for the 13th time in its past 15 games.
“Mason was real solid back there, and we had some key blocked shots coming down the stretch,” Jets center Adam Lowry told reporters after he scored the game’s opening goal with eight seconds left in the first period. “It’s a big win and it gets us back on track.” The Ducks were outshot 49-19 in blowing a 2-0 lead at home Wednesday, losing 4-2 to Vegas to end a three-game winning streak. Goaltender John Gibson did his part, making 45 saves, but Anaheim gave up far too many chances and now faces an offense averaging 3.24 goals per game (eighth in the NHL). “You can’t rely on the guy in the net to stand on his head,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the media. “The score was 4-2 and it could’ve been 10. That’s how good he played.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), Prime Ticket (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE JETS (13-5-3): Forward Patrik Laine scored his 11th goal of the season on a second-period power play Wednesday, giving the 19-year-old points in nine of his past 10 games. The Jets survived a sloppy third period in which they picked up three penalties in the offensive zone Wednesday, but forward Brandon Tanev blocked four shots and Mason came up big in his first start since Nov. 11. Center Mark Scheifele and forward Blake Wheeler lead the team and are tied for 12th in the NHL with 25 points.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (10-8-3): Defenseman Josh Manson scored his third goal of the season - and third in his past four games - in Wednesday’s defeat. Center Rickard Rakell leads Anaheim in goals (eight) and points (18), recording four points in his past four games. Injuries have hit the Ducks hard as Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Ryan Miller continue to be sidelined, but defenseman Cam Fowler picked up an assist Wednesday in his second game back after missing a month.
1. The Ducks have surrendered 222 shots on goal in their past five games.
2. Hellebuyck is 11-2-2 with a 2.45 goals against average (10th in the NHL) and a .925 save percentage (tied for eighth).
3. Ducks C Antoine Vermette leads the NHL in faceoff percentage at 63.5 percent.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Ducks 2