The holiday break is coming up for the Canucks, but before the yuletide carolling can begin, they must face the Winnipeg Jets tonight for a 5 PM match-up at the Rog. They haven’t had much rest recently – tonight is their 4th game in 4th city in 6 nights – but they do get an entire week off over Christmas to recharge. (After tonight, they don’t play again until next Sunday against the Calgary Flames.)
With their big come-from-behind, shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, the Canucks are now 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and currently sit 7th in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Jets, who were moved to the Western Conference after realignment, currently sit 11th, 8 points back of a playoff spot.
This is the first time the Canucks and the Jets are meeting since March, 8th 2012. The Canucks won that game 3-2.
Due to the unbalanced schedule and the lockout, this is actually only the third time Vancouver-native, Evander Kane, will get to play in front of family and friends in Vancouver since being drafted in 2009. He’d missed 6 games recently due to injury, but has since come back and made his presence felt. He has 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists), 16 shots and 9 hits in the 3 games he’s played since his return. But also, regular linemates, Michael Frolik and Mark Scheifele, have benefitted from his return, combining for 8 points (4 goals and 4 assists) themselves in those same 3 games.
The Jets’ powerplay is also going strong, scoring at least 1 PPG (7 total PPG) in 5 of their last 6 games. Formerly the worst PP in the league, they’ve climbed up to 25th at 7.6% on the PP. (Woo-hoo?) They’ll receive a stiff challenge tonight against the Canucks, who has the NHL’s best penalty-kill at 90.2% and who’s only allowed 1 PPG in December (0.967% PK rate).
The Canucks are still without Alex Edler (lower body), Ryan Stanton (ankle), Alex Burrows (jaw) and Jordan Schroeder (ankle).
For the Jets, Paul Postma (blood clot), Matt Halischuk (forearm), and Jim Slater (hernia) are all out.