(SportsNetwork.com) – The Winnipeg Jets try to avoid an ill-timed and season-
high fifth straight loss on Tuesday night as they visit the Vancouver Canucks
in a meeting of current wild card holders.
The Jets have matched their longest losing streak of the season after dropping
a 5-2 decision to the Calgary Flames on Monday night. Winnipeg also lost four
in a row from Oct. 11-19, but is still in solid positioning in the Western
Conference playoff race.
Winnipeg holds the first of two wild card spots, three points ahead of
Vancouver, and is only four points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for third
place in the Central Division, though with two more games played.
The Jets saw the Flames score three times in the third period to pull away
last night, with Bryan Little notching a goal and an assist for Winnipeg and
Blake Wheeler also scoring in defeat.
Winnipeg had won five in a row before this four-game slide.
“We’ve got to get back to our game,” said Wheeler. “We have to come back
harder, we have to allow our D to step up and take away the other team’s time
and space. This is a team we played tonight with a lot of skill that can come
at you in waves and we just didn’t do a good enough job.”
Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on 23 shots and was pulled early in the
third period. Ondrej Pavelec stopped all four shots he faced in relief.
The Jets haven’t lost five in a row since a six-game slide from March 4-14 of
last season and Pavelec figures to get the call in net tonight after
Hutchinson made a third straight start.
Pavelec is 1-3-1 with a 2.79 goals against average and a .916 save percentage
in five career meetings with the Canucks.
The Jets loss to the Flames also knocked the Canucks out of third place in the
Pacific Division and two points behind Calgary.
Vancouver is playing the fourth of a six-game homestand tonight and lost for
the third time in four games with a 4-2 setback to the Minnesota Wild on
The Canucks trailed 3-0 before Ronalds Kenins and Daniel Sedin scored 61
seconds apart in the third period, but got no closer. Kenins’ goal was the
first of his career and it came in his second NHL game.
Vancouver also caught a tough break when a goal was waived off after it was
ruled Radim Vrbata had made contact with the Minnesota netminder three minutes
into the third period and the Wild took their 3-0 lead on a goal not long
“You’re frustrated when the calls go against you, but the refs didn’t beat us.
We had our chances,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said.
Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 19 shots in the loss and backup Eddie Lack
is in line to make his first start tonight since Jan. 13. Lack is 2-1-0 versus
the Jets in his career with a 2.50 GAA and .917 save percentage in three
meetings (2 starts).
The Canucks have won five of their past six versus the Jets and have taken
four straight at home. Vancouver is 5-1-0 with a tie all-time at home in this