PREVIEW: Winnipeg Jets seeks bounce-back win over Vancouver Canucks

Mar 20, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (9) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets have made a habit of bouncing back this season.

After losing consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season, falling 4-2 at Edmonton on Saturday night, they’ll need a big jump for Monday night’s game at Vancouver.

“We’ll move onto the next city. Consecutive-game losses isn’t a sign of necessarily anything terrible brewing,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “We’ve just completed nine games (against) teams that are in the playoffs, seven of them on the road and I think we ended up about .500 in that mix (4-4-1) so we’re not bragging, but we’re not dejected.”

The Jets dropped to 10-1-1 after a loss and also suffered their first defeat after holding a lead through two periods (9-1-2).

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“We don’t like it. The locker room is not thrilled right now, so that’s a good sign,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said.

The Jets took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Andrew Copp and Pierre-Luc Dubois, but Edmonton’s Connor McDavid scored unassisted late in the period and the Oilers got three unanswered goals in the third.

That pushed Edmonton into a tie with Toronto atop the North Division, with the Jets four points back in third.

“These two games definitely didn’t go the way we wanted them to,” Copp said. “All in all, I don’t think we played bad, obviously you’d like to put the puck in the net a little bit more. But I don’t believe there’s any panic. There’s a lot of belief in our room.”

The Jets still have five games remaining on their season-long trip, two in Vancouver and three in Calgary.

“We’ve gone through a lot of adversity over the years. For the last three years, it seems like every year has something crazy for us,” Copp said. “Next game has to be the hardest working game of the year, all that kind of cliche-type stuff. That’s real for us for the next game. I think we’ve just got to tap into that belief, know how good we can be and just go and outwork Vancouver and go from there.”

The Canucks had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 5-4 shootout loss at Montreal on Saturday.

Vancouver trailed 3-2 after two periods before getting goals by Bo Horvat and Tyler Motte in the opening minute of the third. Montreal tied it later in the period on Brendan Gallagher’s goal that ultimately forced overtime.

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“It was a tough game, give Montreal credit, they played well,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “It was a hard-fought game. I like that we battled back. We weren’t playing well, I didn’t like the second half of the second period, and a hard game for our team and a point well earned.”

Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby made 36 saves in his first start since March 2. Vancouver was 7-1-0 in eight straight starts by Thatcher Demko.

The Canucks have played the past eight games without first-line center Elias Pettersson because of an upper-body injury. Pettersson was placed on the long-term injured Friday and won’t be eligible to return until March 31.

“There are still things we’ve got to get better at, but overall I think our game’s pretty solid,” Horvat said. “We’re playing Canuck hockey right now, how we want to play. But there’s always room for improvement.”

–Field Level Media