The Vancouver Canucks attempt to halt a two-game skid when they begin a five-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Vancouver completed a 1-3-0 homestand with back-to-back losses to Edmonton and Chicago in which it was outscored 9-4. The Canucks took a 2-0 lead against the Blackhawks on Wednesday before allowing five unanswered goals en route to their 10th loss in 14 games this month (4-8-2).
Winnipeg fell to 6-2-0 under new coach Paul Maurice when it dropped a 4-3 home decision to Nashville on Tuesday. Rookie Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler scored 27 seconds apart late in the middle period to erase a 3-1 deficit before Mike Fisher netted a power-play goal 42 seconds into the third to put the Predators ahead for good. Vancouver posted a 2-1 home victory in its first meeting with the Jets on Dec. 22 as defenseman Chris Tanev snapped a tie midway through the third session.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (27-19-9): Coach John Tortorella will miss the final game that falls under his 15-day suspension and return to his post Monday in Detroit. Vancouver is 2-3-0 without its volatile bench boss. Captain Henrik Sedin is likely to sit out his sixth straight game with a rib injury while defensemen Tanev (thumb) and Kevin Bieksa (undisclosed) are expected be sidelined until after the Olympic break.
ABOUT THE JETS (25-25-5): Blake Wheeler enters Friday with a three-game goal-scoring streak during which he has tallied four times. The 27-year-old leads the team with 22 tallies - a new career high - and is tied with Bryan Little with a club-leading 44 points. Evander Kane cannot seem to shake the injury bug this season as he is out until after the Winter Games due to an infection in his right hand.
1. Wheeler's previous career high in goals was 21, which he achieved as a rookie in 2008-09 with Boston.
2. Canucks LW Daniel Sedin is mired in a 14-game goal-scoring drought.
3. Winnipeg looks to avoid its first losing streak since beginning the month with five straight defeats.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Canucks 2