The Vancouver Canucks look to get back into in the win column when they continue their home stand tonight hosting the Winnipeg Jets.
Vancouver's 4-2 loss on Sunday to Minnesota wasn't quite as crushing as the defeat their football-playing brethren from Seattle suffered later that same day in Arizona but if they continue to squander opportunities to collect points on home ice then it may lead to similar heartbreak somewhere down the road. The Canucks, who are 1-2-0 so far on their current six-game home stand, can't afford to let more points slip away tonight when they face a Jets team that has stumbled lately losing four in a row coming out of the All-Star break.
Defencemen Alex Edler and Frank Corrado both missed practice yesterday although it's expected both will be able to play tonight. Rookie forward Ronalds Kenins, who scored his first career goal on Sunday, may sit out in favour of Zack Kassian who was a healthy scratch against the Wild. Kenins did not skate with a regular line in practice yesterday while Kassian skated alongside Nick Bonino and Shawn Matthias. There's a good chance that Eddie Lack gets the start in net. He hasn't played since January 13 in a 5-1 loss to Nashville.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
The Jets have been seen a surprise to many as they currently occupy a wildcard playoff spot despite few predicting they would be in a playoff position at the start of the season. However, their strong start to the New Year has almost all been forgotten lately. After beginning January with seven wins in 10 outings, they've since dropped four consecutive games in regulation to equal a season-high losing streak.
Keeping pucks out of their net has been a real problem for the Jets as they have allowed a total of 20 goals over those four outings, including five in a 5-2 loss to the Flames last night. Michael Hutchinson has started the last three straight for the Jets but, after being lit up again last night in Calgary, it would be a surprise if the Jets don't give Ondrej Pavelec the call tonight. This is the first of three meetings between the Canucks and Jets this season, and the first of two visits for the Jets to Vancouver. The Canucks won two of three meetings between the teams last season including the lone game played at Rogers Arena.
Keys to the Game
Play with early desperation. It's always easier to play with the lead than it is to come from behind and the Canucks have learned that the hard way lately. They've scored just one first period goal in their last four outings and have surrendered the first goal in four straight. They need to find a way to bring the intensity right from the opening puck drop.
Shots, shots and more shots. One of the few bright spots from Sunday's loss was the fact the Canucks managed to surpass the 30-shot mark for the second straight game after having a string of games where they couldn't seem to hit the net. Given the Jets' recent struggles keeping the puck out of their own net, Vancouver's approach should be to shoot from anywhere and everywhere.
Play to your strengths. In the case of the Jets, their strength is their willingness to bang bodies. Winnipeg sits third in the league in hits with 1570 (first on the road with 818) and figure to have the edge in physical play facing a Canucks team that sits near the bottom of the league (898). Look for Byfuglien to be a real instigator. He leads Winnipeg with 153 hits.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Jets this season when playing on zero days rest (2-1-2).
Win percentage for the Canucks against the Jets since they moved to Winnipeg (3-1-0).
Straight road losses for the Jets entering tonight's game, all part of their current four-game losing streak.
Straight home wins for the Canucks vs. Jets franchise (two straight since they relocated to Winnipeg).
Percent penalty kill success rate for the Jets during their four-game losing skid (8 goals allowed on 16 times shorthanded).
Penalty minutes this season for Jets D Dustin Byfuglien, a new personal career-high (prev. high 94).