National Hockey League action on Sunday evening and the Pacific Division will square off with the Central Division as the Vancouver Canucks invade the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba to take on the Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks have a road game against the Oilers on Saturday night so they will be playing on no rest, while the Jets enter this game off a 2-1 shootout win over the Flames. Goalie Probables: The Canucks will be sending out Jacob Markstrom and the Jets will counter with Connor Hellebuyck.
Canucks Surprise Wild In OT
The Vancouver Canucks have really had their struggles this year, but after beating the Wild 3-2 on OT in their last game, they have now won their last two games in a row. Despite the mini-win streak, the Canucks are still in 14th place in the Western Conference playoff standings and 11 points out of the 8th spot. This will not be a playoff team this year, especially with an offense that is one of the worst in the league and their play at the other end of the ice has been no better. Scoring in the win over the Wild was Loui Eriksson, which was his 6th of the year, Thomas Vanek, which was his 13th and Brandon Sutter, whose 3rd of the year was the game-winner in OT. The Canucks have now gone 11-12 on the road and have averaged 2.87 gpg and have allowed 3.00 gpg in those games.
Snatching up the win against the Wild was Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 21 of the 23 shots that he faced to move to 12-19 with a 2.72 GAA and a .909 save percentage on the year, including 6-8 with a 2.81 GAA and a .900 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 24-44 with a 2.90 GAA on the road and 2-7 with a 3.50 GAA against the Jets. We may see Anders Nilsson in this one and he has gone 16-33 with a 3.12 GAA out on the road, while against the Jets he has gone 1-0 with a 1.88 GAA.
The Canucks have been poor on offense so far as they come in ranked 26th in the league in scoring at 2.64 gpg, while also ranking 26th in shots taken (29.9 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 21.5% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been poor as they come in ranked 26th in goals allowed, giving up 3.20 gpg, while also ranking 14th in shots allowed (31.9 spg) and 27th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22.9% of their chances.
Winnipeg Throws Some Cool Water On The Flames
The Calgary Flames were the 2nd hottest team in the league as they had won their last seven games, but that all came to an end on Saturday afternoon as a very Winnipeg team ended their win streak with a 2-1 shootout win on the road. That was a huge win for a Winnipeg team that hasn’t played well on the road this year and it also allowed them to jump over Nashville and move into 1st place in the Central Division. That looks like a battle that will go down to the last week of the season. Scoring their lone goal in the win was Mathieu Perreault, while was his 14th of the year, while it was Blake Wheeler that had the deciding goal in the shootout. The Jets have gone 16-4 here at home for the year and they have averaged 4.10 gpg and have allowed 2.50 gpg in those games.
Connor Hellebuyck got the start in the game and he stopped 30 of the 31 shots that he faced in the game to improve to 24-12 with a 2.35 GAA and a .924 save percentage on the year. Steve Mason is slated to get the start in this one and he has gone 3-7 with a 3.52 GAA and a .897 save percentage on the year, including 0-2 with a 5.26 GAA and a .831 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 128-111 with a 2.51 GAA in his home games and 6-10 with a 3.15 GAA against the Canucks.
Winnipeg has been a very solid offensive team so far as they rank 5th in the league in scoring at 3.26 gpg, while also ranking 13th in shots taken (32.2 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 25.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been a bit above average so far as they come in ranked 12th in goals allowed, giving up 2.70 gpg, while also ranking 13th in shots allowed (31.9 spg) and 16th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.6% of their chances.
- None Available
- 1-4 in their last five home games following a road trip of seven or more days
- 25-58 in their last 83 games playing on 0 days rest
The Vancouver Canucks are not a good team at all, but they have won their last two games in a row and are catching a Jets’ team that is playing on no rest. This may be a flat spot for the Jets and I will call for the Canucks to come up with the win in this one. The Jets have been strong at home this year, but most of that has been with Connor Hellebuyck in the crease and he will not be in there for this one. Steve Mason will get the call and he has gone 0-2 with a 5.26 GAA at home so far, plus he is just 6-10 with a 3.15 GAA against the Canucks in his career. I’m not big on calling for big upsets, but I see one here.