NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 31st (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (27-19-9) at Winnipeg Jets (25-25-5), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks know they will get head coach John Tortorella back on this upcoming road trip that leads into the Olympic break.
When center Henrik Sedin can return is still unknown.
The Canucks try to avoid a third straight loss on Friday night when they open the five-game swing versus the Winnipeg Jets.
Vancouver dropped back-to-back home games to Edmonton and Chicago ahead of this trek and have been without Sedin for the last five games due to a rib injury.
Sedin still leads the Canucks with 31 assists and is tied with brother Daniel for the most points on the club with 40. Henrik Sedin remains day-to-day and the club is hoping he can come back during the road trip.
Tortorella has also been away from the team for the last five games as he is serving a 15-day suspension for his actions in a game versus Calgary on Jan. 18. That ban is set to end on Feb. 2, one day before the second game of this road trip on Detroit.
The Canucks, however, know they will not have defenseman Kevin Bieksa until at least after the Olympic break. He won't be on their road trip due to an undisclosed injury.
"We don't know the details yet (of the specific injury). We have to be a resilient group. We have a good group of guys. Adversity happens ... we have to focus on our attitude," said Canucks interim head coach Mike Sullivan.
Vancouver is coming off Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks' third on four games and sixth in the last nine. It also marked the ninth time in 10 games that the Canucks were held to a pair of goals or fewer.
Chris Higgins scored 16 seconds into the game and Tom Sestito gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead early in the second period before Chicago ripped off five straight goals.
"It was disappointing losing the lead so quickly," said goaltender Roberto Luongo, who made 35 saves.
The Canucks remain three points back of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division and eighth overall in the Western Conference with 63 points. That is just three points up on the ninth-place Phoenix Coyotes for the second of two wild card spots.
The Jets are eight points behind the Canucks thanks to a 6-2-0 run since Paul Maurice took over as head coach on Jan. 12. However, they are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler scored 27 seconds apart with under two minutes to go in the second period to even the contest, but Nashville went ahead for good on Mike Fisher's tally 42 seconds into the third period.
Scheifele also had an assist, Chris Thorburn scored and Ondrej Pavelec made 21 saves in defeat.
"We had a good push there in the second period. We responded," said Wheeler, who has a goal in three straight -- four in that span -- as well as six goals and five assists over his last eight games.
Wheeler's 22 goals this season are a career high, surpassing the 21 he netted as a rookie with the Boston Bruins in 2008-09.
Winnipeg begins a four-game road trip on Sunday and will be without forward Evander Kane through the Olympic break due to an infection in his right hand. He is third on the club with 15 goals through 42 games.
The Jets have lost four straight and six of their last seven versus the Canucks, including a 2-1 setback in Vancouver on Dec. 22.
This will mark the Canucks first trip to Winnipeg since the Jets franchise relocated from Atlanta ahead of the 2011-12 campaign.
Luongo is 11-11-2 with a 2.74 goals against average in his career against the Jets, while Pavelec has lost all three of his encounters with the Canucks while posting a 3.06 GAA.
01/31 10:45:40 ET