Jets’ penalty kill falters again in 3-2 loss in Vancouver

In a battle between the two teams with the worst penalty kill units in the NHL, it figured that special teams could play a big part in deciding the outcome.

Indeed it did Friday night in Vancouver.

The struggling Canucks scored on their first two power play attempts and held on for a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, the first time since Dec. 20, 2016 that Vancouver beat the Jets on home ice.

Coming off an intense loss to the Oilers in Edmonton the night before, it was fair to question what kind of energy the Jets would have in this game.

They looked solid coming out of the gates but it was Vancouver getting on the board first thanks to an Oliver Ekman-Larsson power play goal.

The home side went up 2-0 early in the second when a seemingly harmless wrist shot from defenceman Kyle Burroughs found its way past a screened Eric Comrie, the first career NHL goal for Burroughs.

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Exactly 60 seconds later, Nikolaj Ehlers answered in a big way. The speedy Danish winger spun off his man in the Canucks zone, darted to the middle and ripped a blistering shot over the glove of Thatcher Demko to cut the lead in half.

But with the Jets trying to seize momentum back in their favour, Blake Wheeler took a high-sticking penalty and Conor Garland made them pay on the ensuing power play to restore the two-goal advantage.

From there, the Canucks sat on the lead with Demko holding down the fort for the bulk of the duration.

There was a glimmer of hope for the Jets when Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his tenth of the season with Comrie pulled, but Winnipeg couldn’t find the equalizer before the final horn sounded.

For the second straight night, the Jets pelted the opposing goalie but were unable to solve him. Demko was the first star of the night thanks to his 37 save performance. Comrie made 26 saves in defeat.

It’s only the second time in 15 games that Winnipeg has lost a game in regulation. The other time also happened to be the second leg of a back-to-back against the Islanders Nov. 6.

The Jets also did not get to exploit the Canucks’ league-worst penalty kill as they did not draw one penalty on the night.

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Winnipeg returns home for a date with the Penguins Monday night.

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