The Jets coming off of 5-2 victory against the Panthers will have their hands full with a white hot Vancouver Canucks club that has gone 8-1-1 in its last ten games, most recently dispatching the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation which is an accomplishment in itself.
It's back to the hard checking west for the Jets, and astonishingly Claude Noel went on record as saying he doesn't really know much about this Vancouver team as they haven't faced them for overall year and a half. Well coach Christmas better get his act together and quick because the Canucks are enjoying a bit of a resurgence after a disappointing lockout season. Under the always vocal coach Torterella the Canucks have changed their style of play and key players like the Sedins and Ryan Kessler are responding with tighter defensive play and results in the win column. Between the pipes Roberto Luongo is looking more relaxed than he has in years and Eddie Lack is completely unphased with his transition into the NHL . Which brings us to Michael Santorelli who is being haled as the best value in the NHL with 26 points in 38 games, and an astonishing +14. After leaving the Jets Mike Santorelli has become one of the key components for the Canucks adding much needed depth at centre, something the Jets could use in spades.
Keys to the Game
Get it together in our own zone - The Jets will be facing two of the most gifted players on the cycle that the game has ever seen. The Jets are going to have to avoid getting hemmed in at all costs. If they don't, the Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin will make them look like the keystone cops and Ondrej Pavelec will have his work cut out for him.
Goaltending - The Canucks are very good at gaining the zone and dismantling defensive schemes of their opponents. With Claude supposedly not really knowing anything about the Cancuks, Ondrej Pavalec will be leaned pretty heavily and hopefully will be up for the task.
Score - Lately the Jets have had more success offensively, and have seen both their young guns and the first line activate with goals in bunches. The Canucks playing a defense first system have had less success with secondary scoring . If the Jets can put up three or more, they may have a good chance of escaping Rogers arena with a win.
Keep on keeping on - Do what you've been doing and you'll simply out skill the Jets. Good goaltending, good defensive play and a couple of goals should be good enough to stifle the Jets.
Penalty Kill - The Jets have an atrocious power play (which has been getting better), but the Canucks have a very good PK. Look for short handed opportunities as the Jets try and gain the zone during the power play.
Stay in the offensive zone - Gain the zone and stay there. Let the Sedins do what they do and get the Jets running around in their own zone. The result will stifle the Jets offense and create scoring opportunities.
Player To Boo Mercilessly
I'm addressing this to the Jets faithful that will undoubtedly come close to outnumbering Canucks fans at Rogers arena tonight:
Roberto Luongo - He's easily rattled, and when he's rattled he lets in beach balls from centre.
A shoot-out win, after a strong performance from Ondrej Pavalec.
Winnipeg Jets - 4
Vancouver Canucks -3