While the Winnipeg Jets have seen some positive results since their coaching change, the Vancouver Canucks continue to struggle offensively no matter who is behind the bench.
In their final game before coach John Tortorella’s suspension ends, the visiting Canucks hope to extend their success against the Jets’ franchise and avoid a third straight defeat Friday night.
As Winnipeg (25-25-5) has won six of eight since Paul Maurice replaced the fired Claude Noel, Vancouver (27-19-9) enters having lost 11 of 15. The Canucks have gone 2-3-0 without Tortorella, whose 15-day suspension ends in time for him to return Monday at Detroit.
His club has scored two goals in each of the last two contests and two or fewer in nine of 10. Vancouver is one of only three teams averaging fewer than two goals per game (1.95) since Dec. 15.
"We have to fight through this," said Daniel Sedin, who is mired in a 14-game goal drought and has one assist in his last nine. "We’ve got to believe in what we do out there and start making plays – I think that’s the main thing. When we have the puck I think we’re too passive."
It hasn’t helped that Sedin’s brother, Henrik, could miss a sixth straight game with an undisclosed injury.
Vancouver led 2-0 at home Wednesday before allowing Chicago to score four times in the second period en route to a 5-2 defeat.
"We’ve got to play 60 minutes against teams like that," said Roberto Luongo, who has allowed 11 goals in his last three starts. "I think when we have the puck we have to start believing in what we’re doing."
Luongo suffered a lower-body injury early in a 2-1 home win over Winnipeg on Dec. 22 in the teams’ last meeting, but he’s 5-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average in his past six starts against the Jets.
The Canucks have won four straight in the series and are 9-2-1 with a tie against the Jets’ franchise since it debuted in Atlanta in 1999-2000.
Daniel Sedin has been held without a point in three games against the Jets after recording five goals and two assists in his previous three.
Winnipeg is looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Nashville.
Blake Wheeler scored his career-high 22nd goal and Mark Scheifele added one with an assist for the Jets, who came from two goals down to tie the game but would suffer their first loss in four home games under Maurice.
"We did battle hard for each other and we look forward to Vancouver and getting a win then," said Scheifele, who has five goals and six assists in his last 11 games.
Wheeler has four goals with an assist in his past three contests.
He and Scheifele assisted on Evander Kane’s goal at Vancouver last month, but Kane is not expected to return until after the upcoming Olympic break. He sat out Tuesday with an infection related to a hand injury that caused him to miss four games earlier this month.