Playoff Push #74: Jets hungry for sixth straight victory in Vancouver

The Winnipeg Jets are in the stretch run and a post-season berth is within reach.

The high-flying Jets — winners of their past five games — will try to make it six in a row on Tuesday night when they wrap up a mini Western road trip against the Vancouver Canucks.

With nine games left in the regular season, Winnipeg (38-23-12) holds the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference — four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

“We want to continue to keep this thing rolling,” forward Drew Stafford told the Canadian Press after the Jets’ 4-1 win over the Oilers. “We’re not looking any further than tomorrow night against a desperate Vancouver team. They need the points as much as we do, the race is tight.”

Lines

Lines provided by DailyFaceoff.com

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Drew Stafford extended his scoring streak to six games with a goal against the Oilers on Monday night. Stafford has four goals and four assists during that span.

There’s still no word on when the Jets will have Bryan Little back in the lineup. Little, the team’s top centre, has missed the last eight games with a lingering upper-body injury.

Andrew Ladd still leads the team in scoring with 24 goals and 58 points.

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Two words: Tyler Myers. What can you say? The guy has been an absolute beast over the Jets’ five-game streak. Whether it’s shutting down the NHL’s leading scorer Alex Ovechkin, logging 25-plus minutes a night or scoring big goals, Myers has arguably been Winnipeg’s most important player alongside goalie Ondrej Pavelec. 

Especially with top blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien sidelined with an upper-body injury. Byfuglien leads the Jets with 15 goals and 47 points.

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It’s crystal clear who the No. 1 goalie is in Winnipeg. Pavelec has been the primary reason the Jets have been able to win five straight games.

Pavelec, who had a shutout streak of 1:38:02, has posted a 0.98 goals against average and .967 save percentage. However, the Jets will give Pavelec a much-needed night off and go with Michael Hutchinson against the Canucks.

Vancouver

The Canucks (42-26-4) are in second in the Pacific Division with 88 points — two ahead of the Calgary Flames.

The Canucks have won two straight games and will look to keep their streak alive against the Jets.

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Daniel Sedin — the Canucks’ leading scorer — has a four game point streak with two goals and four assists. 

Daniel has 64 points to top the Canucks in scoring while Radmin Vrbata leads with 27 goals.

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The Canucks locked up one of their top defencemen on Tuesday, inking Chris Tanev to a five-year contract extension. Tanev, in his sixth season with the Canucks, ranks second on the team with a plus-10 rating and 13th in the league in blocked shots with 153. 

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Eddie Lack has won two of his last three starts as the Canucks are set to open a three-game homestand. Lack has a 13-10-3 record with a 2.34 goals against average.

Predictions

Game Day Predictions: Two playoff-hungry teams set to do battle. But the Jets will come out on top for win No. 6 in a row. Jets 3 Canucks 2.

Obvious Predictions: Much of the Canucks’ offence will come through the Sedin twins. Keep them in check and it’ll be smooth sailing for the Jets.

Not So Obvious Predictions: The Canucks have had 40 or more shots in each of their last three games. It’ll be interesting too see how Hutchinson handles that much rubber having not started in the last five games.

Playoff Chances

The Jets have a 80.4% chance of making the playoffs, according to clubsportsstats.com.

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