VANCOUVER CANUCKS (5-5-0) at WINNIPEG JETS (5-2-0)
MTS CENTRE, WINNIPEG, MB
7:00 PM PST
TV: CBC, SNP
OPPOSING BLOG: ARCTIC ICE HOCKEY
Without mincing words...the Jets have completely owned the Canucks’ asses over the past few seasons.
Over the Canucks last 15 games against Winnipeg, they are 1-14.
Yep, nary a loser point in any of those losses.
Just for shits, the last time the Canucks beat the Jets, Jannik Hansen had two goals including the eventual game-winner, in a 4-1 win back on December 20th, 2016.
Since then, the Canucks have lost 10 straight to Winnipeg.
With this being the first of nine games against the Jets this season, the Canucks better find some way to reverse this trend if they plan on being in the playoff picture in the spring. However, they are facing a Jets team with the proverbial horseshoe up their rear ends right now.
The Jets are 5-2 so far this season, but they’ve trailed heading into the third period in five of their seven games so far. Winnipeg has been masters of the comeback so far in 2021, winning three games already when trailing after two periods.
So, one of the big questions heading into this matchup is...are the Jets lucky to be 5-2, or do they deserve it?
In many ways, the Jets and the Canucks are similar teams. Both are top 10 in creating scoring chances. Both teams are also permissive defensively, although the Canucks are much, much worse than the Jets.
While the Jets rank 23rd in expected goals-against, only Ottawa is worse the the Canucks.
Unless there’s a fundamental change in the way the Canucks play defence, this promises to be a problem all season long, with each of the other five Canadian teams boasting the ability to pressure offensively.
Winnipeg is no different, and their new-look line of Nik Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Andrew Copp has been one of the hottest in the league of late. They have 20 points as a line over the last three games. Ehlers and Copp had four points apiece in the Jets' previous game, a 6-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers.
We're still in love with that beautiful setup to Nikolaj Ehlers by Paul Stastny pic.twitter.com/DPIZ5PTR8r— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) January 27, 2021
One more area where the Canucks need to expose the Jets tonight is shorthanded. Winnipeg’s penalty kill is an atrocious 68.4%, the third-worst mark in the league. Vancouver’s power play has rebounded after a slow start, but their 15.1% mark still ranks only 21st in the NHL.
Vancouver’s Projected Lines
Projected Starter: Thatcher Demko
Winnipeg’s Projected Lines
Projected Starter: Connor Hellebuyck
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Since Kent’s not in charge of the goal song today...I almost went with Baton Rouge.
However, since the Canucks have received some goal support from unlikely sources over the last couple of games, I thought Helmet’s 90s classic “Unsung” was suitable for tonight’s game.
Who will be the unlikely hero for the Canucks tonight? Is it time for Chatfield or MacEwen to come through with a goal?