CANUCKS (13-9-5) at RANGERS (13-13-0)
TV: NHLN-US, SNET-P, MSG
Last 10: Vancouver 3-4-3; New York 5-5-0
Season Series: The Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers meet for the first time this season. Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and the Rangers scored all of their goals in the third period to defeat the Canucks 4-0 at Rogers Arena in the teams' previous meeting Oct. 18, 2011. The teams don't see each other again until the Rangers come to Vancouver on April 1.
Big story: Canucks coach John Tortorella faces the Rangers in his first regular-season game since he was fired by New York on May 29. Tortorella opposes current Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who was let go by the Canucks on May 22 and hired after Tortorella was let go.
Tortorella is trying to play down his return to Madison Square Garden; he's more concerned about the play of his current team. Despite a 5-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, the Canucks have won just of their past 11 games and sit in fifth place in the Pacific Division, three points out of a playoff spot.
"Quite honestly, we've beaten this thing up," Tortorella said Friday. "It's another game on the schedule. It's a very important game for us to try to gain some traction. We need to continue trying to gain traction. That's all this is about. We have enough things to worry about with our hockey club."
Canucks: Vancouver beat the Senators on Thursday by scoring four unanswered goal in an 8:51 stretch of the second period. Daniel Sedin began the surge with his 300th career goal, making him the third Canuck to reach the milestone since Vancouver joined the League in 1970.
"I think we did a good job of just moving on after the first [period]," said Henrik Sedin, who had two assists. "We came in here, we had a good talk, and we came out really strong in the second."
Rangers: New York ended a five-game road trip with 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Friday. Although the Rangers have seven wins in their past nine road games and went 3-2-0 on the trip, Vigneault was very unhappy with their effort at TD Garden.
"We got exactly what we deserved," Vigneault said. "We had too many guys with their 'B' game on the ice against a Stanley Cup finalist, a team that was obviously not happy with their performance [a 6-1 loss Wednesday to the Detroit Red Wings]. Our lack of consistency has been an ongoing issue here with a few of our players and we're a .500 hockey team right now, and that's definitely not good enough."
Who's hot: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver's leading scorer, has points in three of his past four games (3-2-5). Twin brother Daniel has points in four straight (2-5-7). Roberto Luongo made 37 saves against the Senators to improve to 11-7-5 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .915 save percentage … Derek Stepan has points in three of his past five games for the Rangers. Rick Nash has goals in his past two games and three in six games since returning from a concussion.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL
|M. Del Zotto||20||2||3||5||-6||4||1||0|