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Canucks return home to host Jets

Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 6:49 PM

JETS (16-16-5) at CANUCKS (21-11-6)

TV: TSN-JETS, SNET-P

Last 10: Winnipeg 4-5-1; Vancouver 8-1-1

Season series: This is the first of three games, and the first with each as a member of the Western Conference.

Big story: Winnipeg forward Evander Kane, a Vancouver native, will play in his hometown for the third time in the NHL and the first since March 8, 2012, when he had an assist in a 3-2 loss.

"I don't get an opportunity too often just because I've been in the East my whole career," Kane told the Jets website Saturday, "but it's definitely nice to go back in front of my friends and family and play in Vancouver."

Kane has four points in three games since returning from a lower-body injury. The Jets have won two of those three after losing four of six without him. Linemates Michael Frolik and Mark Scheifele have combined for eight points since Kane joined them.

"I think when you know the puck's going to the net it makes you want to go there a little bit more," Kane said. "I think we're realizing when we can make plays and when we should probably just get to the net."

Team Scope:

Jets: Kane has allowed Winnipeg to be a bit more physical, and they outhit the Florida Panthers 31-23 in a 5-2 win Friday. The Jets will try to maintain that against the Canucks.

"I think anytime you can eliminate their time and space, and make sure they can't make those tic-tac-toe plays that they're capable of, that would be the big thing I think for us," said defenseman Zach Bogosian, who played Friday after missing 15 games with a groin injury.

The win ended a six-game home losing streak; they had not won at MTS Centre since Nov. 15. Winnipeg plays six of its next eight on the road, where they are 8-8-1.

"We have two games before we break for Christmas," coach Claude Noel said. "So we'll focus on our next opponent in Vancouver and then back in Edmonton again. It would be nice to win them both. And the players will know that, we have to be ready to play and ready to start."

Canucks: Vancouver added to its most impressive stretch of the season Friday with perhaps its best victory. After falling behind the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on the road, the Canucks won 3-2 in a shootout.

Vancouver was 1-4 in shootouts this season prior to that, and John Tortorella made the rare call to Henrik Sedin as the third shooter. Sedin is 0-for-4 over nine seasons of the tiebreaker.

"I want the Sedins to do it," Tortorella said. "They're our best players, it's their responsibility, they want to do it ... and I want them to do it and I want them to succeed in it."

Though neither Henrik nor Daniel Sedin scored, and together are 0-for-5 this season (Daniel is 4-for-25 lifetime), expect them to continue to get chances.

"I just have a [heck] of a time not using top players in that," Tortorella said. "But I know I've had top players who wanted no part of it. Those two want to do it. That's why we went there."

Who's hot: The Jets have six power-play goals in their past five games. They had ranked last in the NHL before the spurt. Defenseman Tobias Enstrom scored his first goal in 22 games on Friday. … Daniel Sedin has five points in his past five games; Henrik Sedin has four in four. Goalie Roberto Luongo had gone six straight games allowing two or fewer goals before giving up four to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Injury report: Jets forward James Wright (flu) returned to play Friday. Defenseman Paul Postma (blood clot) and forwards Matt Halischuk (forearm) and Jim Slater (sports hernia) are out. … Canucks defensemen Ryan Stanton (ankle) and Alexander Edler (lower body), and forward Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw) are out.

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