The Vancouver Canucks’ penalty kill has been their main strength
this season, especially during their current surge.
Vancouver seeks a ninth victory in 11 games when it hosts the
Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
The Canucks (21-11-6) have allowed a league-low 12 power-play
goals and have killed off an NHL-best 90.2 percent of their
penalties. They snuffed out four Chicago power plays on Friday and
rallied from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 in a shootout.
Vancouver has killed 29 of 30 man advantages while going 8-1-1
over its last 10.
“To do that you need everyone going,” said Daniel Sedin, who
scored the tying goal in the second period. “After those first 10
to 15 minutes (of the game), everyone stepped up and played better,
from the (defensemen) up to the forwards. I thought we played a
Eddie Lack made 24 saves before stopping seven shots in the
eight-round shootout. He got the start in net after Roberto Luongo
struggled in a 4-1 loss to Dallas the previous night.
“First period, I think we showed them a little bit too much
respect,” coach John Tortorella said. “I think we just kind of
tested the waters a little bit. I thought we started taking over
the game in the second period.”
After playing three games in four days, Vancouver will be coming
off a short break as it seeks a sixth straight home victory. It has
won three straight at home over Winnipeg, which beat Florida 5-2 on
Tobias Enstrom and Blake Wheeler scored, while Jacob Trouba,
Evander Kane and Michael Frolik had a goal and an assist apiece to
help the Jets (16-16-5) bounce back from a loss to Buffalo on
Tuesday that marked their fourth in five games.
“I think our group was kind of chomping at the bit to get going
again,” Wheeler said. “Any time you have a tough game like we had
in Buffalo and then take a couple of days to stew over it, I think
you’re almost foaming at the mouth to get back out there.”
Winnipeg went 2 for 4 on the power play and has converted 30.4
percent of its chances over the last six contests. It had gone
scoreless in its previous 18 opportunities with the advantage
before the current run.
“Any time you score on the power play creates a lot of momentum
for your team,” Wheeler said. “To get a couple, that’s almost icing
on the cake. We really fed off that and were able to carry that
over and sustain a bigger lead, which is nice.”
Ondrej Pavelec ended a tough stretch by making 21 saves against
Florida. He went 0-4-1 with a 4.04 goals-against average over his
last five starts.
“You need every win,” Pavelec said. “It’s the same for me –
winning is a good feeling. But we need way more than this win. We
have to keep going.”
Pavelec has lost both of his career starts against Vancouver
while posting a 3.56 GAA, and he’ll likely oppose Luongo in this
Luongo has lost his last two starts after winning five straight
with a 1.19 GAA. He’s won five straight starts against the Winnipeg
franchise while posting a 1.40 GAA.