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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks vs Winnipeg- Dec 22/16

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After starting off like, oh I don't know, every freakin' game the Canucks played this year, the boys rebounded rather impressively for a 4-1 win over the Jets. Tonight we see if there's any nastyness that started to grow from Tuesday night, as the Canucks try to win 2 in a row for a change.

Bear. Cheese.
Bear. Cheese.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs. Winnipeg Jets

7:00 PM PT - Rogers Arena- Vancouver, BC

TV: SN Vancouver - Radio: TSN 1040

Heading into the game Tuesday night, so much of the focus was on Patrik Laine and the Winnipeg Jets. When the smoke cleared, it was a Dane that was getting a lot of the attention, as Jannik Hansen had a strong game to lead the Canucks to victory. He wasn't the only Canuck that played well though. The Sedins had a pretty solid game, grinding down the Jets D, and if it weren't for Connor Hellebuyck this one might have been a blowout. Chris Tanev was his usual steady, calming self on the back end, and Jacob Markstrom might have put in one of his best performances of the year. These teams meet again tonight, and it will be interesting to see how the coaching staffs of each team adjust based on Tuesday's contest.

Canucks
CATEGORY
Jets
14-16-23 SEASON RECORD 15-17-3
31 Points 33
6th Division Position 6th
Won 1
Streak Lost 1
2.45 (23)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.54 (17)
3.03 (26)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.94 (24)
14.3 (27) Power Play % 14.9 (26)
80.2 (20) Penalty Kill % 76.0 (28)
51.5 (7) Faceoff Win % 46.9 (30)
8.1 (25)
Shooting % 9.2 (11)
49.4 (17)
Corsi For % 48.0 (24)
98.5 (26)
PDO 99.4 (18)

Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com

THE OPPOSITION

You have to think that Paul Maurice's squad were pretty unhappy with how things played out Tuesday night. The Canucks aren't exactly a team that screams confidence, and yet they made the mistake that others have made against this squad so far this season: giving them a little wiggle room. For as bad as the Canucks are, they still have some talent, and like any team, give them an opportunity and they'll take it.

One thing that they might want to do is try and get different matchups for Patrik Laine in this game. He was pretty much a non-factor in the contest, though this might be a recurring theme this year as he's scored just 3 of his 17 goals on the road so far this season. Seeing a different defensive pairing might help him get back on track.

Another thing that we didn't see from the Jets Tuesday was them using their size advantage, which was surprising considering how effective it was for them last year in games against the Canucks. I would expect to see them hitting more, and whether it's Ryan Miller or Jacob Markstrom in the crease tonight, they will likely see a whole lot of Winnipeg butts in their face (oh, grow up... you know what I mean).

THE CANUCKS

4 points back of the last wild card spot. A win tonight and Saturday against the Flames and they have a .500 record. Once again, the narrative about the Canucks seems confusing at best. And even if they should continue to win, the question remains: is it truly what's best for the team. The current chances of the team making the post-season sit at 12.5%. That's not exactly a confidence builder. And that is why the whole idea that Jim Benning refuses to ask any player to waive their NTC is a mind boggling one. It's still a far easier thing to say they don't have a sniff at the playoffs, and that should have them looking to take assets like Jannik Hansen and Alexandre Burrows, and maybe even Chris Tanev and parlay those assets into the future, look long term instead of some playoff pipe dream that's just going to end badly. This team isn't going to be Cinderella if they somehow make it to the ball, people.

Tonight is game 1200 for captain Henrik Sedin, and he's closing in on the 1000 point mark as well, just 8 points back of that milestone.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Ronnie James Dio singing Xmas songs? Hell yes!