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Canucks close to clinching playoffs as they face Jets

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com

CANUCKS (45-28-5) at JETS (39-26-12)

TV: NHLN-US, SNP, TSN3

Season series: The Vancouver Canucks have won two games against the Winnipeg Jets, including a come-from-behind 5-2 victory at Rogers Arena on March 24. Right wing Radim Vrbata had two goals and an assist. Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack has a 1.98 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in the two wins.

Canucks team scope: Vancouver recalled forward Sven Baertschi from Utica of the American Hockey League on Friday; he was acquired from the Calgary Flames in a trade March 2. Baertschi had seven goals and six assists in 12 games with Utica. The Canucks are in second place in the Pacific Division and have a four-point lead on Calgary. Vancouver is 2-1-0 on its four-game Central Division road trip. The power play has scored in six of its past eight games (7-for-20). Goaltender Ryan Miller practiced Friday for the first time since sustaining a knee injury Feb. 22. Coach Willie Desjardins said Miller's return is not imminent, according to the Canucks website. The Canucks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Jets in regulation, and either the Flames lose in any fashion or the Kings lose in regulation. The Canucks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Jets in overtime, the Flames lose in any fashion and the Kings lose in regulation. The Canucks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Jets in a shootout, and both the Flames and Kings lose in regulation.

Jets team scope: Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will begin a four-game suspension for a cross-check on J.T. Miller of the New York Rangers in a 3-2 loss Tuesday. Byfuglien cannot return to the lineup until April 11 against Calgary; Jay Harrison is expected to replace him. Los Angeles and Winnipeg each has 90 points; the Kings have four more regulation/overtime wins, the tiebreaker for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. After a 12-2-2 run at MTS Centre, the Jets have lost their past two home games. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start; he has started eight of the past nine games (6-2-0). Winnipeg has allowed a power-play goal in three of its past four games, killing eight of 11 chances. The Jets begin a three-game road trip against the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

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