Vancouver Canucks gameday: Jetting out of playoff contention

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 12: Troy Stecher
VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 12: Troy Stecher /
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After losing in heartbreaking fashion against the Calgary Flames, the Canucks will look to rebound against a Jets team that has had some struggles of their own recently. 

With word that Canucks third leading scorer Sven Baertschi has been sent back to Vancouver after taking a puck to the face, things are not getting easier for the hockey club.

The Canucks are missing a lot regulars, and have the likes of fill in players such as Michael Chaput, Nic Dowd,and even Brendan Gaunce taking up spots. If those three are in your lineup, then you know your in some serious trouble.

Even still, the Canucks need other players like the Sedins, Loui Eriksson, and Sam Gagner to help pick up the slack.

The Canucks play the Winnipeg Jets for the second time this season. Their first meeting came on October 13th, where the Jets decided to to ruin Brock Boeser’s season debut with a 4-2 win.

The one thing that might work in the Canucks favour is that the Jets have not been playing well lately, losing three in a row. In those three games they have averaged 5 goals against per game.

Though they haven’t been playing well, the Jets still have top end talent like Mark Scheifele,Blake Wheeler, and Patrik Laine, so the Canucks better be prepared!

Here is our preview for tonight’s game!

Vancouver Canucks

Overview

2017-18 record: 14-12-4

2017-18 record vs Jets: 0-1-0

Goals for: 81

Goals against: 85

Injuries courtesy of RotoWorldBrandon Sutter (upper body,-day-to day), Erik Gudbranson (upper body, week to week), and Bo Horvat (ankle, out six-to-eight weeks), Sven Baertschi (face, day to day)

Who’s on offence

Brock Boeser: This guy was born to score. The best part about his scoring is that he can score in multiple ways, whether it be a blistering shota deke, and even garbage goals. With 15 goals in 27 games, he is on pace to score 44 goals in his rookie season.

More from The Canuck Way

Though chances are he won’t hit that lofty total, a 30 goal season is definitely in reach. Just imagining him and Elias Pettersson on a line together is what gets me through tough Canuck times like now.

Jake Virtanen: He played a great game against the Flames, where he scored the opening goal by being in the right spot at the right time. With 4 goals and 7 points in 26 games, it doesn’t seem like Jake has made much progress this year, but he has been playing better and hopefully he will figure it out soon.

The guy has been blessed with size, speed, and a great, a trio the likes of which is very rare to find in a player. If he is able to figure it out and become more consistent, the Canucks are going to have one heck of a player!

With the injury to Sven Baertschi, look for Nikolay Goldobin to draw back into the lineup.

Who’s on defence

Michael Del Zotto: He leads Canucks defenceman in points with 11 this year, and has formed a pretty good pairing with trade acquisition Derrick Pouliot (even though the shift they had on Calgary’s game winning goal was less than stellar). Both of these defenceman have a good chance at having 30 point season’s each. The Canucks have not had two blueliners with more than 30 points in the same season since 2011-2012!

Who’s In net

Head coach Travis Green usually holds this close to his chest until game day. With a run and gun Jets team, I feel that the Canucks will start Anders Nilson. He has .921 save percentage to go with a 2.71 goals against average. He has played very well this season, and look for him to have a strong outing against the Jets to stake a claim on the starter’s role.

Projected lineup

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Loui Eriksson

Nikolay Goldobin—Markus Granlund—Brock Boeser

Sam Gagner—Nic Dowd—Thomas Vanek

Brendan Gaunce—Michael Chaput—Jake Virtanen

Alexander Edler—Chris Tanev

Michael Del Zotto—Derrick Pouliot

Ben Hutton—Troy Stecher

Winnipeg Jets

Overview

2017-18 record: 17-8-5

2017-18 record vs Canucks: 1-0-0

Goals for: 102

Goals against: 86

Injuries courtesy of RotoWorldTobias Enstrom (lower body injury, out indefinitely)

Who’s on offence

Patrik Laine is one of the best shooters in the game. He scored 36 goals as a rookie last season, and already has 15 goals in 30 games this year. He scored a goal in the last meeting between these two teams, and with the Jets on a three game losing streak, look for him to try and bury few to help his team out of a slump.

Mark Scheifele is one of the best all round players in the game. He is becoming the prototype scouts are looking for when they are drafting centerman. With 34 points in 30 games, he is going to get his chances, and the Canucks better play him tight, otherwise he is going to make you pay.

Who’s on defence

Dustin Byfuglien has 15 assists on the year, but zero goals! With the team having plenty of goal scoring, I don’t think it has bothered him too much, but he will definitely try to get one with his booming slapshot.

Behind all the young guns up front, Tyler Myers is quietly putting up a good season with 5 goals, and 14 points in 30 games. He is on pace to match his personal best of 37 points that he put up in his rookie year with Buffalo. He also had the game winning short handed goal against the Canucks in their last meeting.

Who’s in goal

Connor Hellebuyck is the starting goalie for this team after Steve Mason had a shaky start. With 15 wins and only 3 losses on the year, look for him to get the start. He has a 2.51 goals against average, with a 0.919 save percentage.

Projected lineup

Kyle Connor – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers – Bryan Little – Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp – Adam Lowry – Brandon Tanev

Mathieu Perrault – Matt Hendricks – Joel Armia

Josh Morrisey – Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot – Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov – Tyler Myers

Keys To Victory

Vancouver Canucks

  1. Don’t turn this into a track meet. The Canucks cannot afford to go “goal for goal” against this Jets team. They simply have way more scoring than they do.
  2. Strong goaltending. Whoever is in net will have to play lights out good to give the Canucks a chance.
  3. Convert on powerplay chances. The Jets have the 22nd ranked penalty kill, so the Canucks need to exploit this.

Winnipeg Jets

  1. Strong penalty kill. The Canucks powerplay has been clicking quite frequently, and with Brock Boeser they are going to need to make sure he doesn’t get a shot off.
  2. Quick start. Get the Canucks on their toes early. If they can score quickly and get the crowd behind them, this bodes well for their chances of winning the game.

Predictions

Alex Hoegler

Vancouver’s offence has no punch without Horvat, and the Jets are coming back from a miserable road trip. They’ll come out hungry, and beat Vancouver in overtime.

Scott Rosenhek

Saturday’s game in Calgary was brutal. Two blown leads and paying the price for sitting back. Canucks will need to get ahead early and weather the storm. Without Horvat and Baertschi, our only hopes lie with Boeser and the Sedins. Oh, and if Jake Virtanen gets another fortunate goal.

Next: Top prospects: Pettersson, Gaudette, Brassard

Tyler Shipley

Coach Green doubles down on his commitment to the likes of Chaput, Gaunce, and Dowd and the problem is they can’t score. Missing two of their bet offensive players, the Canucks can’t get much going against a very good Jets team with a ton of weapons.