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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 22nd (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (16-16-5) at Vancouver Canucks (21-11-6), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks will shoot for a sixth straight home victory when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets for Sunday's clash at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks began the 2013-14 campaign with a disappointing 5-5-3 record as the host before rattling off wins in their last five outings in British Columbia.
Vancouver has a good chance at extending its home winning streak on Sunday against a Jets franchise that has had little success in this series. The Canucks are 8-2-1 with a tie in 12 all-time meetings against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise, although Sunday's tilt is only the second encounter between the clubs since the Jets relocated from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season.
The Canucks boast a 4-1-0 mark with a tie in the six all-time matchups in B.C.
Vancouver recently went 1-1-1 on a three-game road trip and was able to salvage a win at Chicago in the finale of the swing on Friday. Daniel Sedin tied the game in the third period and Ryan Kesler scored the decisive goal in the eighth round of the shootout to help the Canucks beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks by a 3-2 score.
Kesler, the 16th and final shooter, used a backhand-forehand deke to beat Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta.
Eddie Lack allowed only one goal in the penalty shot tiebreaker after making 24 saves through overtime for the Canucks, who avoided going winless on a three-game road trip. They had opened December with seven consecutive wins before following up a shootout loss at Minnesota with a 4-1 setback in Dallas.
"I thought I let the first goal in a little cheap. I wanted to get it back and keep my team in it. We did a great job coming back from 2-0 and taking it to a shootout. It was a great game for sure," Lack said.
Roberto Luongo expects to get the start in net for the Canucks tonight. He is 11-11-1 with a tie and a 2.77 goals against average in 26 games (23 starts) against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.
The Jets have won two of their last three tilts after suffering through an 0-2-1 slide from Dec. 10-14.
Winnipeg halted the three-game skid with a win Monday in Columbus before falling in Buffalo the following night. However, the Jets were able to get back in the win column on Friday, when it notched a 5-2 home win over the Florida Panthers.
Evander Kane, Jacob Trouba and Michael Frolik each had a goal and an assist to help the Jets pick up their first home win in more than a month. The triumph snapped an 0-3-2 home slide for the Jets, who hadn't won at MTS Centre since beating Philadelphia on Nov. 15.
The win also came against a red-hot Panthers team that had won a season-high five straight games before getting upended in Winnipeg.
Tobias Enstrom and Blake Wheeler added goals to help the Jets. Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele each contributed a pair of assists to support a 21-save effort from Ondrej Pavelec.
"I thought the game was good, it was good to get the win at home," Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel said. "It's been a while since we cleanly got a win (here at MTS Centre)."
The Jets have similar records at home and on the road this season, going 8-8-4 at MTS Centre and 8-8-1 everywhere else.
Winnipeg forward Anthony Peluso is available for Sunday's game after serving a three-game suspension for boarding Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski on Dec. 14. Peluso has just one goal in 16 games this season.
12/22 10:45:14 ET