Though they were coming off a win in their previous game, the Vancouver Canucks’ season hit a new low their last time out.
Reeling after a stunning third-period collapse, the Canucks try to bounce back Wednesday night against a Winnipeg Jets team that also comes in slumping and has dropped three straight at home.
Vancouver (29-28-10) appeared to be on its way to its first back-to-back wins since January on Monday, taking a 3-0 lead into the third against the struggling New York Islanders. Instead, the Canucks gave up seven goals in the final 20 minutes en route to a 7-4 loss, giving them a 2-11-1 record in their last 14 games.
”This is a kick in the teeth,” coach John Tortorella said. ”It’s certainly going to take a little bit more than normal coach’s speak (to get) by this game.”
The first four Islanders goals came in the opening 6:22 of the period. Vancouver tied it on Christopher Tanev’s goal at 9:54, but New York’s Matt Martin answered 10 seconds later.
The Islanders came in with a 24-33-9 record and 3-9-2 mark in their previous 14, and had seven rookies in the lineup.
”What could happen, happened,” Tortorella said. ”It’s been going on for a little while here, since eternity. But, somehow, we’ve got to try to put it behind us.”
The Canucks had scored two or fewer goals in their previous 10 contests. They’ve given up 13 goals in their last two defeats and are struggling to stay in the Western Conference wild-card race.
"It’s the story of the past two months," a shaken Ryan Kesler said. "We gotta figure it out here quick or we’re all gonna be packing our bags and going home for the summer really quick here."
Vancouver has dropped seven in a row on the road – all in regulation – and 12 of 13 there. Its last eight-game losing streak away from home came Nov. 8-Dec. 10, 1989, a slide that also consisted of all regulation defeats.
The Canucks, though, will be facing a team that hasn’t played well on home ice of late. Winnipeg (30-28-8) closed out an 0-2-1 homestand with a 5-3 loss to Ottawa on Saturday before falling 3-2 in overtime at Colorado on Monday.
Dustin Byfuglien scored twice in a 1:48 span of the second period against the Avalanche – giving him three goals and an assist in the past two games – but Jim Slater’s penalty shot that was stopped in the first ultimately cost the Jets.
"It was a good battle," coach Paul Maurice told the NHL’s official website after Winnipeg killed all six Colorado power plays and scored on its lone man advantage. "The penalty kill was outstanding, the power play – what little we saw – was 100 percent. I don’t have a lot of complaints. I didn’t think we gave up a whole lot.
"If you factor in the power play and penalty kill, both teams had some really good chances. We’ve got to find a way to draw as many (penalties) as we get."
Maurice’s team earned one power play for the third time in five games.
The Jets took the most recent meeting with the Canucks 4-3 at home Jan. 31, breaking a four-game skid in the series. They fell 2-1 at Vancouver in the first meeting Dec. 22.