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Canucks start vital pre-Olympic stretch vs. Jets @NHLdotcom

CANUCKS (27-19-9) at JETS (25-25-5)


Last 10: Vancouver 4-6-0; Winnipeg 6-4-0

Season series: This is the second of three games between the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks won 2-1 on Dec. 22 thanks to a third-period goal by Christopher Tanev.

Big story: The Canucks are 4-8-2 in January and begin a five-game road trip that will carry them to the Olympic break.

"Certainly a good trip to come together. If we could string a great trip before the Olympic break and feel better about ourselves, all the better," forward Chris Higgins said. "Try to regroup [Friday], think about these next [five] games and get the job done."

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver had a 2-0 lead in the second period Wednesday night, but the Chicago Blackhawks scored four goals on five shots in less than eight minutes for a 4-2 lead in what ended up being a 5-2 win.

"It's disappointing being up 2-0 and losing the lead so quickly like that," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "We have to play 60 minutes against teams like that. For the majority of the game, I thought we played pretty well. But we have a little bit of a lapse and it's game over."

This is Vancouver's first visit to Winnipeg since 1996; the Canucks are the final NHL club to play the Jets at MTS Centre.

Jets: Winnipeg lost 4-3 to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night after overcoming deficits of 1-0 and 3-1. It was just their second loss under Paul Maurice, who is 6-2-0 since being name coach on Jan. 12.

"Obviously it wasn't the result we wanted, but I think you saw that we battled hard for each other and we never gave up," forward Mark Scheifele, who had a goal and an assist, said after practice Wednesday. "That game's over now and all we can do is focus on what we can do versus Vancouver."

The Jets have not lost two games in a row in three weeks and look to avoid that on Thursday against the Canucks.

"Obviously a hard-working team. They play good defense," defenseman Zach Bogosian said. "When they have guys like the Sedin brothers, you definitely have to be aware. It's going to be a good game. They have a good all-around team.

"It will be a good challenge for us. They are a good team. We just have to make sure we are competing just like we did last game."

Who's hot: Higgins has three goals in the Canucks' past four games. … Scheifele has four goals and seven points in seven games for the Jets. Defenseman Jacob Trouba has four assists in five games.

Injury report: The Canucks will be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa until after the Olympics due to an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion) is out, and forward Mike Santorelli had season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday. Top-line center Henrik Sedin (ribs) hasn't played since Jan. 18, though the Canucks hope he'll be able to return during the road trip. … The Jets have defenseman Grant Clitsome (back) and forwards Jim Slater (hernia) and Matt Halischuk (forearm) on injured reserve. Forward Evander Kane (hand) will be sidelined until after the Olympic break.

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