One month of turbulence, one night of relief.
The Vancouver Canucks created a little calmness on Friday, beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 at Rogers Arena to end a five-game losing streak and cap a week that included a summit between their general manager and owner and unyielding chatter among fans and the media about who should be fired first.
Everyone gets to keep their job for now — or at least until Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks — after the Canucks fixed for one night the special-teams problems that had given them little chance of winning this month.
Vancouver’s power play managed nearly three weeks’ worth of productivity: two goals. And their historically bad penalty killing was perfect; the Canucks took no penalties.
They still needed a point-blank save at the buzzer from goalie Thatcher Demko on Nikolaj Ehlers, and Vancouver’s chip-it-out defending the last half of the game caused some anxious moments. But after Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Jets with 2:28 remaining in regulation time, the Canucks managed to maintain their one-goal lead for just their second regulation win on home ice this season.
But the significant damage they’ve done to their playoff chances looked no less severe with the team now 6-10-2 through 18 games.
“Obviously, it hasn't been going the way we want it to the last few here, and we've got some ground to make up now,” Demko told reporters after finishing with 37 saves. “Hopefully, tonight's a start of stringing a few together here and just building off one another and building some confidence in the room.”
It has been a while since the Canucks used that particular C-word.