NHL: Surging Canucks battle slumping Jets
The Vancouver Canucks look to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games when they visit the slumping Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Vancouver is coming off a 6-2 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The Jets are on their first three-game losing streak of the season after a 4-1 setback to the visiting Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
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The Canucks dominated the Sharks, as Bo Horvat had two goals and two assists, while Ilya Mikheyev added a goal and three assists.
Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes also scored for Vancouver, while Spencer Martin (11-5-1, 3.57 goals-against average) made 24 saves as the Canucks won for the seventh time in their past 10 games.
“I think the team is starting to believe in themselves a little bit, and I think that’s important,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We contained (San Jose) fairly well.”
Horvat, who has nine goals and six assists in his last 10 games, has 26 goals this season, tied with Buffalo’s Tage Thompson for second most in the league and five behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid entering Wednesday’s action.
Pettersson has scored 16 goals with 26 assists for a team-best 42 points, while Horvat has added 13 assists and is second on the team with 39 points. Andrei Kuzmenko (14 goals, 16 assists) and J.T. Miller (13 goals, 17 assists) are tied for third with 30 points, just ahead of defenseman Quinn Hughes’ 29 points, of which 28 are assists.
The Jets allowed two goals in the first 6:33 to the Wild before Pierre-Luc Dubois pulled Winnipeg to within 2-1 at the 10:03 mark of the first period.
But the Wild’s Frederick Gaudreau extended the lead to 3-1 with a goal at the 8:55 mark of the second period before Samuel Walker added an empty-net goal with a little over two minutes left in the game.
Connor Hellebuyck (16-9-1, 2.38 GAA) made 24 saves for the Jets.
“I don’t think we played up to the standard we expect out of everyone in terms of execution,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “Our passing wasn’t very crisp, decision-making, reads off face-offs, reads in and on them. I think we can play fast and be more aggressive on the forecheck. We can create more turnovers that will lead to extended zone time.”
Winnipeg’s leading scorer, defenseman Josh Morrisey, has six goals, but his 34 assists are fifth most in the league and one behind San Jose’s Erik Karlsson for the most among defensemen.
Morrissey’s 40 points are one ahead of Kyle Connor (15 goals, 24 assists) and two ahead of Dubois (16 goals, 22 assists). Mark Scheifele has a team-high 20 goals to go along with eight assists.
This will be the teams’ second of three meetings this season, with the final one set for Jan. 8 in Winnipeg.
The Jets jumped out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 5-1 win over the host Canucks on Dec. 17.
Connor and Sam Gagner each had a goal and an assist, while Kyle Capobianco, Neal Pionk and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby each added a goal, and Dubois finished with three assists.
Horvat scored for the Canucks.
–Field Level Media
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