JETBLAST: VANCOUVER @ WINNIPEG

og-WINVAN

JETBLAST

Vancouver Canucks (27-19-9) at Winnipeg Jets (25-25-5) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1290

It will be a proud day for True North Sports and Entertainement as their team the Winnipeg Jets welcome a team that formerly had an affiliation with the company, the Vancouver Canucks to the MTS Centre. Of course Vancouver was the NHL affiliate of the Manitoba Moose, and still has many players who passed through Winnipeg on the big club. In their first meeting in Vancouver this season the Canucks came out with a tough 2-1 win, this game is in Winnipeg however and this Jets team is different. There are still many Canucks fans in these parts so expect a wild building Friday evening, Lets Go!

Canucks

For years the Vancouver Canucks have hovered around the top of the Western Conference. They have won the West, the Presidents Trophy, and even made a Stanley Cup Final a few years back. They have never held Lord Stanleys Cup though and it appears now their window may be closed. Though they had a decent start to the season they have slid recently and now find themselves down at the bottom of the playoff picture, fighting to even get a spot in the post season dance. The struggles have been apparent recently for the Canucks, with just one win in their last 4, and goal scoring becoming a stuggle, the Canucks may be in trouble. Luckily for them they are getting some amazing play from gold medal winner Roberto Luongo. Luongo has had a major bounce back year and has been getting wins for Vancouver all by himself on many nights. Though they have been struggling, the Canucks still have so much skill on their team they can break out at any time, the JEts hope they don’t do it Friday night.

Jets

After so much good recently, the Jets suffered a major setback Tuesday night in the eyes of many fans. After beating some of the best teams in the league just a week ago, they came out and gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win, and slid back into last place in their division. All is not lost though, a win Friday can move em right back up the standings, and the new coach was quick to defend his team. Maurice liked the effort level on Tuesday and just said things didn’t go their way on that night. Friday will be Winnipegs last home game before the Olympic break and the Jets will try and send their fans home happy. They will be without Evander Kane however until at least after the Olympics. In a game against Tampa nearly a month ago now Kane suffered a cut on his hand in a fight that became infected. Kane missed some time but returned for a few games, only to have the infection return. This is a huge blow to the team as it hurts the most successful thing the Jets had going, that being the line of Kane/Scheifele/Wheeler. Tuesday Chris Thorburn filled in, and played well, notching his first goal of the season, however he does not have the skill the Jets need on that line. Winnipeg needs to find a way to make it all work though, they have Vancouver at home this Friday and then go on the road for 4, and they need wins heading into the break if they want to play meaningful hockey after.

Keys to the Game

Bounce Back: The first real hard loss in the Paul Maurice era, we will all learn how the team bounces back. If the Jets can win Friday, they have a chance to string some W’s together.
Sound defence: The Canucks have struggled to score. One Sedin is hurt, the other can’t find the score sheet. The Canucks are there for the picking but if you give them chances they have the skill to find the back of the net.
Lou!: Roberto Luongo is one of the best in the world, get to him, deflections, rebounds, and chaos will be the Jets best friend if they want to put pucks in the net.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (16-21-4) GAA: 2.99 SV% .901
Roberto Luongo (19-13-6) GAA: 2.30 SV% .920

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Postma WPG, (conditioning stint) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Kane WPG, (infection) out
Bieska VAN, (unknown) day-to-day
Tanev VAN, (broken thumb) out
Sedin VAN, (unknown) day-to-day
Santorelli VAN, (torn labrum) out
Alberts VAN, (concussion) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 6-4-0
Canucks: 4-6-0

Prediction

Jets back on track
Jets 3 Canucks 1

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!