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Canucks visit Jets with each on losing streak

by Patrick Williams /

CANUCKS (7-6-6) at JETS (8-9-2)


WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets will attempt to end their six-game losing streak (0-5-1) when they host the Vancouver Canucks at MTS Centre on Wednesday.

After a stretch of eight of nine games on the road, the Jets return home to start a three-game home stand against an opponent having troubles of its own. The Canucks, who have a three-game losing streak (0-2-1), will finish a season-high seven-game road trip that is 1-3-2 so far.

Goaltender Ryan Miller will start for Vancouver. Jets coach Paul Maurice will return to goaltender Ondrej Pavelec after starting Michael Hutchinson the past two games.

Each team shuffled its lineup in an attempt to change their fortunes.

Canucks forward Radim Vrbata is not expected to dress after he did not participate in the morning skate. Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said that Vrbata is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Defenseman Luca Sbisa and forward Alexandre Burrows will return to the lineup. Burrows missed one game for the birth of his son.

"[Burrows] is a leader on this team," Desjardins said. "It gives us energy and a vocal guy."

Sbisa missed eight games with an undisclosed injury and confirmed that he will play.

"I got the green light [Wednesday] morning at the hotel. It took a bit longer than I thought [it would]," he said.

"We're not happy with the way we've played. [The Jets] are not happy with the way they've played, so I think it will be two desperate teams going after each other. I think it's going to be physical, a lot of battles. I don't think it's going to be a pretty game, but it's going to be a fun one to watch, a fun one to play."

Vancouver also recalled forward Alexandre Grenier from Utica of the American Hockey League. The Canucks returned forward Hunter Shinkaruk to Utica to make room for the 24-year-old Grenier, who has two goals and five assists in the 13 AHL games. Grenier is expected to dress.

Fresh off a four-game road trip in which they were outscored 21-6, Maurice unveiled several new lines at the morning skate.

"We haven't changed our lines very often [this season]," Maurice said. We wanted to give some of the younger players a chance to get their feet wet. But we've gone a stretch now where there doesn't seem to be a whole of chemistry. Some of it changes their minutes, who they will play against, balancing of speed and things like that."

Maurice reunited the line of captain Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler. He sent rookie Nikolaj Ehlers, who does not have a goal in 10 games, to the third line with Alexander Burmistrov and Chris Thorburn. Although right wing Drew Stafford does not have a point in his past 11 games, he will take Ehlers' place on the second line with Mathieu Perreault and Mark Scheifele. Adam Lowry was sent to the fourth line.

"At this point, we're trying anything, trying to generate as much as we can," Stafford said of the line changes. "We're trying to create some chemistry, trying to mix things up and see [whether] we can generate something."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Alexandre Burrows - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen

Chris Higgins - Jared McCann - Alexandre Grenier

Sven Baertschi - Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Ben Hutton - Matt Bartkowski

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Brandon Prust (ankle), Brandon Sutter (undisclosed), Radim Vrbata (undisclosed)

Scratched: None


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Drew Stafford

Nikolaj Ehlers - Alexander Burmistrov - Chris Thorburn

Adam Lowry - Andrew Copp - Anthony Peluso

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Adam Pardy - Dustin Byfuglien

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back)

Scratched: Ben Chiarot, Nic Petan, Paul Postma

Status report: If Grenier dresses, he would become the sixth Canucks player to make his NHL debut this season… Maurice said that his bottom-six is "not a permanent situation." He was pleased with Burmistrov's performance in a 3-2 road loss against the St. Louis Blues on Monday and sees his new third-line role as a chance to "touch the puck a little bit more."… Maurice said he is moving Lowry to build the second-year forward's confidence. "It's a little simpler game for a physical player like [Lowry]," Maurice said of moving him to the fourth line.

Who's hot: Edler has a three-game point streak (one goal and two assists).

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