Comical mediocrity collides tonight in Winnipeg as the Jets, losers of six straight (0-5-1), say hello to our fair Canucks, themselves losers of three straight, six of their last seven and more painfully a team that has decided playing competitively in the third period is for suckers.
For the Canucks, there are a few moving pieces. Mr. Everything returns to the lineup and, as Will reported earlier, Hunter Shinkaruk was sent back to Utica after the dumpster fire in Montreal and Willie is going with the truculent (yeah I said it) Alex Grenier instead. As Botch said, you could argue keeping Shinkaruk with Radim Vrbata likely out would have made sense, but I hate logic and it hates me. Luca Sbisa is expected to return and Sven Baertschi is slated to skate with Dorsett and Cracknell on the fourth line.
The Jets have the worst record in the league this month, picking up only three points since you dressed like Yoda for Halloween but your co-workers called you a Hobbit instead. Paul Maurice turns back to spellcheck destroyer Ondrej Pavelec in net and has juggled his lines in an attempt to kickstart his squad, loading up the top line while dropping fellow spellcheck monster Nikolaj Ehlers to the third line. Something something chemistry something something.
Fun Fact #1: If the playoffs started today, you'd miss all those gifts next month. That's sad. Also the Canucks would play the Sharks. That's sad too considering recent history doesn't favor Vancouver...at all. But the Ducks would miss out entirely which kind of makes up for the lack of gifts thing.
Fun Fact #2: As the NHL reminds us, if Grenier steps on the ice tonight he will be the sixth Canuck to make his NHL debut this season. Youth = served.
Fun Fact #3: The Jets are the most penalized team in the league (272 PIMs, or an average of 14 a game). So prepare yourself for plenty of that 20th best Vancouver power play to entertain and delight the senses!
Fearless Prediction: Short of the Keystone Kops theme playing during every stoppage? Grenier goes to the box before the game is three minutes old, Sbisa's defensive decisions makes your cringe at least four times and Hansen factors in on the game winner. Meh, call it 4-3 for the killer whales.
Everything's gonna be OK. Here's some puppies to prove it.