- The Vancouver Canucks finish off a 3 games in 4 nights stretch with a 5:00 PM PST Sunday night tilt vs the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena. The Canucks will look to grab another 2 points against a Jets team they should beat, but the game before the Christmas break is often one best played on the road as it is yet another classic trap game.
The Canucks played a solid road game vs the Chicago Blackhawks posting a 3-2 shootout win. The Canucks started out slow, but built momentum as the game went on. The lack of hatred and intensity was noticeable, something I did not expect against a Chicago team that is up there with the Boston Bruins on the rival-meter. Eddie Lack came up huge with multiple highlight reel saves and an excellent performance in the shootout. Lack then put the icing on the cake by going out to dinner with Roberto Luongo. Lack is pretty classic!
The Winnipeg Jets
The Jets are coming off of an impressive 5-2 victory over the suddenly hot Florida Panthers. The Jets are finding out that life in the Western Conference is not as peachy as they thought it would be. The travel is better, but the competition is next level. The Jets currently sit 6th in the Central division and a distant 11th in the West.
The Canucks look to be icing the same lineup they had vs the Hawks, but expect Roberto Luongo between the pipes.
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Hansen
Higgins – Kesler – Santorelli
Kassian – Richardson - Booth
Sestito – Dalpe – Weise
Hamhuis – Tanev
Alberts – Bieksa
Garrison – Weber
The pretend Larscheid report…
1. Tryptophan Dreams
- The Canucks need to avoid the distraction of a large Christmas dinner awaiting them in a few days with family and an extended Christmas break. The Canucks do not play again until December 29th vs the Calgary Flames and have to make sure they don’t have visions of candy canes in their head vs the Jets. Win against the Jets and butter the turkey later!
2. The Tortorella Difference
This is the type of game that I would be extremely worried about with Alain Vigneault behind the bench, but I am less concerned with John Tortorella in control of the Canucks. If the Canucks are in an early tryptophan funk, then Tortorella will call a time out and freak out for a minute to wake them up. There are no days off with Tortorella!
3. Limit The Local Boys
A key to beating the Jets is to limit the impact of a couple of local boys; Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd. Both are dynamic players and can single-handedly change the momentum of a game. Stop Kane and Ladd and you pretty much have beat the Jets!
The Canucks are coming off an impressive win at the end of a somewhat mediocre road trip, but the body of work in the last 10 games has been exceptional. I don’t see Tortorella letting the Canucks mail this one in prior to their Christmas break and the Jets are a bit aimless under Claude Noel. The Canucks take this one 5-2!
Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher