Jets-Canucks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 08, 2012
Losing three in a row at home isn't a regular occurrence for the Vancouver Canucks. It's even rarer for it to happen in regulation. The Winnipeg Jets, however, seem poised to make that happen. The Canucks may have a chance to regain the Western Conference lead if they can turn things around Thursday night against the surging Jets, who are clinging to a playoff spot in the East. Vancouver (41-18-8) is 19-8-4 at home, but it followed Saturday's 5-3 loss to Buffalo with a sloppy performance in a 5-2 defeat to Dallas three days later. "We made a few mistakes but had enough chances to win the game," center Henrik Sedin said Tuesday. "The breakdowns we had turned into goals for them. "There comes a time when creating chances isn't good enough. You have to score goals to win games." The Canucks have done a lot of that throughout the season, tying Detroit for the most goals in the West at 211 while trailing conference-leading St. Louis by one point. The Blues host Anaheim earlier Thursday. Another loss wouldn't help Vancouver's cause, but would give the club its first three-game slide at home since Jan. 8-22, 2011. All of those contests were decided by shootouts; the Canucks last endured a home skid that long in regulation when they dropped four in a row in that fashion in January 2009. Production from Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the NHL's last two scoring champions, could keep that from happening again. Henrik Sedin has failed to generate a point in six straight contests, his longest such streak since an eight-game drought Nov. 29-Dec. 20, 2003. Daniel hasn't been much better, going six games without a goal and three without a point after his minus-2 performance against the Stars. "It's tough when you lose and you're not contributing," Daniel Sedin said. "We've done some things over the last few years and we can't really panic, just keep working hard." The twins are big reasons the Canucks are 7-1-1 in their last nine against the franchise that was formerly the Atlanta Thrashers. They won 3-1 in Atlanta in the only matchup last season, and this is their only meeting of 2011-12 with the relocated club. Daniel Sedin has seven goals and three assists in 10 career meetings with the franchise, including a hat trick in a 4-2 victory in the most recent matchup at Rogers Arena on Dec. 10, 2009. Henrik Sedin has five points in the past three meetings. The Jets (32-27-8) enter Thursday looking to build on their 6-1-2 stretch and create some breathing room in the playoff race. They're two points ahead of Washington and Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff position in the East and just two points behind Southeast Division-leading Florida. Their recent surge continued with Monday's 3-1 victory over the Sabres after they routed the Panthers 7-0 last Thursday. Blake Wheeler totaled two goals and one assist in those contests, giving him five and 11, respectively, over the past nine games. The right wing's 54 points on the season are a career high, while his 15 goals are three short of his total in each of the past two seasons with the Thrashers and Boston. Evander Kane is looking to get back on the scoresheet after his eight-game point streak came to an end Monday. The left wing had seven goals and seven assists in that stretch.
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