Game 39: Canucks vs. Jets (12.22.13)
As far as high notes go, it's hard to imagine anything being more of a confidence-booster than a win like the Canucks had on Friday over the Blackhawks when they rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to earn a 3-2 shootout victory. That being said, the last thing the Canucks will want to happen especially heading into a six-day break is to lose the momentum from that comeback win by dropping their final pre-Christmas tilt against a Jets team that should be considered a very beatable opponent by Vancouver.
Winnipeg is coming off a 5-2 win over Florida on home ice on Friday night and will be trying to string consecutive victories together for the first time this month. They're also looking to improve on a pitiful 4-5-1 record away from the MTS Centre. The Canucks, meanwhile, will be looking to pick up right where they left off on home ice prior to their three-game road trip and extend their win streak at Rogers Arena to six games. Roberto Luongo will be back between the pipes tonight after getting Friday night off while Ondrej Pavelec is the expected starter for the Jets. Jets forward Anthony Peluso is eligible to return to the lineup tonight after sitting out three games due to suspension.
Puck drop at 5 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Be the Grinch. The Canucks have been quite generous in their last two games spotting their opponents leads in both contests. They may be one of the better teams when it comes to winning after trailing first but it's about time they break that nasty habit of falling behind first.
Get the power play back on track. Vancouver's man-advantage has suddenly reverted back to its early-season ways when they couldn't buy a goal. Having their power play contribute will be especially critical in a game against a Jets team that has been pretty stingy this season when it comes to their penalty kill.
Kane steps up. The Jets are a much better team when Evander Kane plays to the best of his ability but while he has been coming around lately with four points in his last three outings, they need him to produce on a more consistent basis. Perhaps playing a game in his hometown will give him a reason to be extra motivated to have a productive night.
By the Numbers
Win needed by Roberto Luongo for his 250th with the Canucks.
Straight games without a PPG for VAN – their longest slump since Nov. 7 to 10. They are 0-for-9 in that stretch.
Straight home wins for the Canucks. VAN has out-scored opponents 18-5 during that stretch.
Years since an NHL team from Winnipeg last won a game in Vancouver (Oct. 28, 1995).
Jets' power play efficiency percent in their last six games (7-for-23). Their overall season average is 14.4 percent.
Percent of Jets games this season that have been decided by one-goal. WPG is 9-7-5 in one-goal games.