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Photo Credit: © Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

WTWF: Jets Seeking to get back on track against red-hot Canucks

After being shutout for just the second time this season, the Winnipeg Jets will be looking to end their goalless drought along with their current two-game losing streak later tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. During the Jets’ previous matchup against the Canucks, their team allowed just a single goal on 33 shots while tailing four of their own against backup goaltender Thatcher Demko.

Coming into tonight’s contest, the Canucks are currently riding a two-game winning streak and they’ve also won nine of their last eleven games as well. During that span, Vancouver has scored four goals or more in seven of their last eleven games. Despite the Canucks’ recent offensive success, the Jets will still have a chance to earn their first win in regulation since Jan. 6 along with ending their current six-game losing streak at home.

Winnipeg are 8-0 SU in their last 8 games when playing at home against Vancouver. – OddsShark.com

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1) Andrew Copp Promoted to Second Line 

Prior to tonight’s game, Andrew Copp was positioned on Winnipeg’s third line alongside Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault. While his ice time has fluctuated from just under 15 minutes to over 21 minutes during his previous four games, Copp has also scored two of his seven goals this season during that span. Just as he told reporters after Monday’s practice, the 25-year-old should provide an offensive spark to the Jets’ second line.

With Copp being promoted to the second line, Jack Roslovic has been demoted back down to Winnipeg’s third line. Since the 22-year-old is point-less in each of his last six games, this move was an obvious one to make for the struggling Jets. Through 38 games this season, Copp has scored seven goals and 16 points along with averaging 17:21 minutes of TOI as well.

2) Luca Sbisa Fills-in for the Injured Tucker Poolman 

After suffering a lower-body injury during the Jets 1-0 loss to the Nashville Predators, Tucker Poolman has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Canucks. Following Monday’s practice, coach Paul Maurice confirmed to the media that Poolman would be sidelined until either the end of Winnipeg’s upcoming three-game road trip or until after the All-Star break.

Based on Maurice’s comments, Poolman is expected to miss at least the next five games. With Poolman unable to play, Luca Sbisa is expected to serve as his replacement, while Neal Pionk is slated to fill Poolman’s spot on the Jets’ top defensive pairing. Since Pionk is being promoted from the second defensive pairing, Sbisa is expected to fill that role alongside Dmitry Kulikov.

3) Defensive Zone Faceoff Struggles 

During Winnipeg’s 4-1 victory over Vancouver back in November, their squad was dominated in the faceoff circle. Overall, the Canucks produced a 53% FOW percentage as the Jets recorded a 47% FOW percentage. Specifically, Vancouver dominated on the dot in the offensive zone, as their team generated a 64.7% OZ FOW percentage. As for Winnipeg, their team created a measly 35.3% DZ FOW percentage.

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Since the start of December, the Canucks have also been one of the best faceoff winning teams while in the attacking zone. Through their 19 games played, Vancouver has recorded the fourth-highest OZ FOW% (54.7%) among all 31 teams in the league. In addition, Winnipeg has produced the third-worst DZ FOW% (43.4%) during that span.

Bold Prediction

Early in the first period, Copp has an immediate impact with his new linemates, as he’s set up perfectly by captain Blake Wheeler for his eighth goal of the season. Later in the period, the Canucks give the Jets a powerplay with just three minutes remaining and Patrik Laine capitalizes for his four powerplay goal and 16th overall on the season.

Despite a late goal from Vancouver in the third, Winnipeg is able to hold on for the 3-1 victory, ending their six-game slump at home.