NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Jets vs. Devils (Dec. 3)
Jonathan Kozub, Getty Images/NHLI. Pictured: Connor Hellebuyck
Devils vs. Jets Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
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The Winnipeg Jets and the New Jersey Devils battle at the Canadian Life Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday night. Both teams have had a hard time getting in the win column recently and are looking to get off the snide quickly before teams pass them in their division.
New Jersey came out guns blazing this season, but have lost six of its last eight, including a 5-2 defeat to Minnesota on Thursday night.
The Jets also soared in the early going, but have also hit a rough patch, losing six of their last seven. Jets fans are already putting coach Paul Maurice on the hot seat, but given the success he’s had with this squad, it’s hard to imagine that a loyal front office would toss him aside without working to fix it.
Which Devils Team Will Show Up?
After a long rebuild, the Devils look like a team heading in the right direction thanks to an influx of talent through the draft and a couple of shrewd additions.
A top-six featuring Jack Hughes, Andreas Johnsson, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha and Calder candidate Dawson Mercer is providing New Jersey with consistent offensive production. New Jersey ranks inside the top-10 in expected goals and high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
A lot of New Jersey’s play-driving prowess comes from the back-end, where Dougie Hamilton is flourishing as the No. 1 rearguard for Lindy Ruff.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to start on Friday night and the veteran has provided some stable netminding again this season. Bernier has skated to a .914 save percentage (SV%) and a +2.2 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in nine games.
The Inconsistent Jets
The Jets came into the season as a potential Stanley Cup sleeper thanks to a deep roster and terrific goaltending. While that still may be true, Winnipeg will need to get more out of top-line players Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, who have both struggled since battling Covid-19 in the early part of the season.
With Wheeler and Scheifele struggling, Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers are carrying the load offensively. The Jets rank inside the top-10 in both expected goals for and high-danger chances created at 5-on-5, so some positive offensive regression should be expected from a club that is scoring 0.43 goals less than expected per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
It’s no secret that Connor Hellebuyck is one of the best goaltenders in the league, but the team in front of him hasn’t helped much. He’s skated to a quality .918 SV% and an 8.2 GSAx and is always a threat to steal a game.
Devils vs. Jets Pick
One of these teams will get back on track in this matchup, but I think the Jets have a couple of advantages that make me comfortable laying the juice with Winnipeg, even at -175 which implies Winnipeg has a 63.5% chance of winning.
Not only are the Jets due for some positive regression on offense, but they’re coming off a three-day break while the Devils are traveling on a back-to-back.
As long as Hellebuyck gets the start, I think it’s Jets or nothing in this one.
Pick: Winnipeg Jets -175