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Three Storylines Heading into Jets Back-To-Back Series Against Canucks

Following a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens, the Winnipeg Jets are entering March on a four-game winning streak and will be aiming to extend that streak even further against the Vancouver Canucks, who are currently riding a four-game losing streak.

So far this season, Winnipeg has won two of its three contests against Vancouver – including a 4-3 overtime victory back on Feb. 21. But with these two teams scheduled to play consecutive games against each other, the Jets could take a commanding lead in the season series if they’re able to come away with a pair of victories, which would also move them into second place in the division.

Here are three storylines that could impact the Jets’ back-to-back series against the Canucks:

1. Tucker Poolman Missing Third Straight Game 

Thanks to a nagging upper-body injury, defenseman Tucker Poolman is currently on the injured reserve and has missed each of the last two games. While he’s now eligible to return to the lineup, the Jets are continuing to be cautious with the 27-year-old and will hold him out during the first game of this back-to-back series, making this the third straight game he’ll miss due to injury.

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Along with this recent injury, Poolman also missed a large chunk of time due to COVID-19, which has limited him to just seven games so far in 2021. In his absence, teammate Nathan Beaulieu will continue skating alongside Josh Morrissey and youngster Sami Niku will earn another start beside Dylan DeMelo on the third defensive pairing.

2. Start of Extremely Busy Month-Long Stretch 

Since the regular season opened on Jan. 14, Winnipeg has played 20 games in 46 days and has only been forced to play two back-to-back series during that span, which hasn’t been overly taxing. But with the calendar turning to March, this team will now be faced with one of their biggest challenges of the season, as they’re scheduled to play 17 games in 31 days – including three back-to-back series.

To make matters worse, they’ll only receive one two-day break this month and that lack of time off will likely result in plenty of fatigue during this difficult stretch. With that in mind, it’d make a ton of sense for coach Paul Maurice to utilize multiple players off the taxi squad in hopes of keeping the entire roster as fresh as possible, meaning skaters like Logan Stanley, Kristian Vesalainen, Jansen Harkins and Niku could all receive a solid amount of playing time moving forward.

3. Opportunity For Jets to Dominate on Power Play

After struggling out of the gate with the man advantage, resulting in a 19.4% conversion rate through the first eight games of the season, the Jets have since corrected those issues and produced the seventh-highest conversion rate (27.3%) on the power play among all 31 teams in February. Thanks to a trio of power-play goals from forward Kyle Connor, who currently leads the team in power-play goals, he helped provide a much-needed spark to the club’s special teams unit and will now be looking to carry that momentum over into March.

Considering the Canucks own the eighth-most penalty minutes (59) and are tied for the seventh-lowest success rate (75.0%) on the penalty kill since Feb. 15, there’s a very good chance Connor and his teammates will be able to enjoy plenty of success with the man advantage during this back-to-back series. If that occurs, then these next two games could feature plenty of scoring from the home team, which would certainly take some pressure off goaltenders Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit.

Lineups: 

Winnipeg Jets:

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LW C RW
Pierre-Luc Dubois
PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS

Rating: 74.6#38 LW

Mark Scheifele
MARK SCHEIFELE

Rating: 76.8#19 C

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Blake Wheeler
BLAKE WHEELER

Rating: 76.3#22 RW

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Kyle Connor
KYLE CONNOR

Rating: 79.5#5 LW

Paul Stastny
PAUL STASTNY

Rating: 74.8#36 C

Nikolaj Ehlers
NIKOLAJ EHLERS

Rating: 75.7#20 RW

Andrew Copp
ANDREW COPP

Rating: 72.5#60 LW

Adam Lowry
ADAM LOWRY

Rating: 69.2#149 C

Mason Appleton
MASON APPLETON

Rating: 69.5#123 RW

Mathieu Perreault
MATHIEU PERREAULT

Rating: 71.1#96 LW

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 69.4#145 C

Trevor Lewis
TREVOR LEWIS

Rating: 70.1#114 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Nathan Beaulieu
NATHAN BEAULIEU

Rating: 72.1#72 LD

Josh Morrissey
JOSH MORRISSEY

Rating: 74.1#29 RD

Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 70.5#109 LD

Neal Pionk
NEAL PIONK

Rating: 75.3#20 RD

Sami Niku
SAMI NIKU

Rating: 71.4#92 LD

Dylan DeMelo
DYLAN DEMELO

Rating: 71.8#69 RD

Vancouver Canucks: 

LW C RW
Tanner Pearson
TANNER PEARSON

Rating: 73.7#38 LW

Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT

Rating: 74.8#34 C

Jake Virtanen
JAKE VIRTANEN

Rating: 72.0#78 RW

J.T. Miller
J.T. MILLER

Rating: 78.5#7 LW

Elias Pettersson
ELIAS PETTERSSON

Rating: 77.7#14 C

Brock Boeser
BROCK BOESER

Rating: 74.1#41 RW

Nils Hoglander
NILS HOGLANDER
Brandon Sutter
BRANDON SUTTER

Rating: 70.1#131 C

Adam Gaudette
ADAM GAUDETTE

Rating: 70.2#130 RW

Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL

Rating: 71.0#97 LW

Jay Beagle
JAY BEAGLE

Rating: 68.4#163 C

Zack MacEwen
ZACK MACEWEN
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Alexander Edler
ALEXANDER EDLER

Rating: 74.3#26 LD

Nate Schmidt
NATE SCHMIDT

Rating: 75.5#18 RD

Quinn Hughes
QUINN HUGHES

Rating: 75.2#15 LD

Travis Hamonic
TRAVIS HAMONIC

Rating: 72.8#45 RD

Jordie Benn
JORDIE BENN

Rating: 70.9#101 LD

Tyler Myers
TYLER MYERS

Rating: 72.6#50 RD

Where to watch/listen:

The puck will drop at 7 pm CT for both games and each of them will be available on TSN 3 along with 680 CJOB.