Consecutive regulation losses for the first time since November have knocked the Canucks out of the top spot in the Western Conference. The Jets wish they were as fortunate as they continue to cling to a playoff spot.
Vancouver tries to avoid its first three-game slide of the season as it hosts a Winnipeg club that is coming off an excellent homestand of its own.
The Canucks had gone 13-1-5 prior to back-to-back losses against the Sabres and Stars. That leaves Vancouver with 90 points, which is still good for a 16- point edge over second-place Colorado in the Northwest Division but now one back of St. Louis for first in the West.
Vancouver has lost two straight games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 3-4 after dropping Tuesday's 5-2 contest to Dallas. Chris Higgins had a goal and also assisted on Alexander Edler's tally as the Canucks lost for the fourth time in five games (1-2-2).
Roberto Luongo was touched for four goals on 28 shots.
"It was a weird game," Luongo said. "A lot of their goals came right in the goalmouth and I don't know what to make of it."
Vancouver will play the fourth contest of a seven-game homestand and actually has more wins on the road this year (22) than as the host (19).
Winnipeg, meanwhile, hits the road for two straight following a 5-1-2 homestand. The Jets are 21-10-4 as the hosting club this year compared to 11-17-4 as the visitor and sit in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with 72 points. That is two behind Florida for the lead in the Southeast Division but only two up on ninth-place Washington and Buffalo. Tampa Bay also lurks four points back of the East's final postseason seed.
The Jets wrapped their eight-game stand with a 3-1 win over Buffalo. Blake Wheeler had the game-winner in the third period, while Andrew Ladd and Chris Thorburn also scored. Bryan Little assisted on all three goals and sprung Little with a pass to set up his goal at the 8:02 mark of the final frame.
Wheeler, who scored his 15th goal of the season, was happy to get one by Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller.
"Little made a really heads up play," said Wheeler. "They turned it over inside our blue and their defenseman was going in on kind of a 4-on-3 rush and (he) saw that I was free. I always feel fortunate scoring on a goalie like him. He's probably the best in the league right now and you got to take a little bit of luck out of that, but it felt good to win tonight."
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 23 shots in the win for the Jets, who will play two in a row on the road before returning home for three straight.
The Jets dropped a 3-1 decision to the Canucks at home when they were still located in Atlanta last season. It was their fourth setback in the past five meetings and the Winnipeg franchise has lost two straight in Vancouver.
Luongo made 30 saves to help guide the Canucks to the win in last season's lone encounter.