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Canucks vs Jets Game Day: It’s the season finale in Winnipeg


The Canucks are likely to dress a depleted lineup, but there will still be plenty of motivation to finish on a high note and grab a 51st win on the season

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Vancouver Canucks (50-22-9) vs. Winnipeg Jets (51-24-6)

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When and where: Thursday, 5 p.m., Canada Life Centre

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TV: Sportsnet Radio: Sportsnet 650

The buzz: And so ends a remarkable season. The Canucks have 50 wins. They’re playing a strong team in Winnipeg … but will anyone care by game time? The only thing we really know is Thatcher Demko is likely to make his second start in a row after returning from a knee injury. Other than that, head coach Rick Tocchet said Wednesday that he’s not sure about his lineup. He has a number of players who could probably use a rest, but he also wants to keep things sharp. He’s got players who as a point of pride will want to say they played every game this year.

The Jets are expected to rest a number of veterans. Cloverdale’s Laurent Brossoit will start in net. Brossoit has four wins in five career starts against his hometown team, but also hasn’t faced the Canucks since the end of the 2020-21 season.

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The history: This is the first visit to Winnipeg for Vancouver this season. The Jets beat the Canucks in Vancouver in February, scoring two goals on two bad defensive reads in the third period in what was an otherwise pretty evenly-played game. In March the Canucks hammered the flu-ridden Jets 5-0, again at Rogers Arena.

The hope: The Canucks are likely to dress a depleted lineup, but there will still be plenty of motivation to finish on a high note and grab a 51st win on the season. They could even have a chance at first place in the Western Conference if the Dallas Stars stumble and lose to the St. Louis Blues in regulation on Wednesday night.

The fear: Both teams have eyes trained on the playoffs, so this could very well be a dour affair.

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The top guns: J.T. Miller has 103 points, the seventh-highest single-season total in Canucks history. Quinn Hughes has 91 points, the 12th-highest single-season total in team history. Both could move up the list: Miller is just one point back of Daniel Sedin’s 2010-11 season and Markus Naslund’s 2002-03 — they’re tied for fifth-highest — while Hughes is three points back of Henrik Sedin’s 2010-11 total.

The quote: “Obviously it’s a lot easier when you win 50 games, it’s easier to be happy around the rink,” Conor Garland said. “There’s not a lot of uncertainty around our building and it was a focused group from game one. That’s probably why it’s been so much fun this year.”

The wounded: Canucks: None. Jets: Morgan Barron (lower-body, day to day).

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The lineup:

Forwards

Höglander-Pettersson-Mikheyev

Suter-Miller-Boeser

Podkolzin-Blueger-Joshua

Mikheyev-Suter-Lafferty

Defence

Hughes-Hronek

Soucy-Myers

Zadorov-Cole

Goalie

Thatcher Demko

The prediction: This game won’t have much zip. We’d predict a 1-1 tie but the NHL makes teams go to a shootout so let’s just say someone is winning 2-1 in the most boring way possible.

vasily
Vancouver Canucks’ Vasily Podkolzin breaks Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo’s stick as they vie for the puck during the game, in Vancouver, Saturday, March 9, 2024. Photo by ETHAN CAIRNS /THE CANADIAN PRESS

(FAN FORUM: Do you have a specific question for a player? Pass it along to @provincesports and we’ll get it in a future edition.)

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction

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