Aaron Volpatti slots in on the fourth line wing in place of centre Alexandre Bolduc. Jeff Tambellini will drop down from his usual spot on the second line wing, to centre Tanner Glass and Volpatti on the fourth line. Jannik Hansen moves up to play with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond on the second line.
On defense, Aaron Rome skated with Keith Ballard on the third pairing this morning. Rome is expected to start in place of Andrew Alberts.
Cory Schneider gets the call in net tonight for Vancouver. He is undefeated this season at 8-0-2, and is currently tied with Dan Cloutier, Kirk Mclean, Ceasare Maniago and Richard Brodeur for the Canucks’ franchise record winning streak by a goalie.
“When we score first and are leading after one, I think our record is pretty good,” said Schneider. “It’s important to get off to a good start and get them on their heels a bit. We don’t give up too many leads.”
Getting off to a good start indeed, as the Canucks are an unbelievable 24-1-3 when scoring first this season. The Canucks lead the NHL with a .952 winning percentage when leading after one period, but they will be in tough tonight as they face the NHL’s second stingiest first period defense. The New York Rangers have allowed only 24 first period goals in 44 games this season. The NHL’s top first period defense? The Vancouver Canucks, who’ve allowed only 20 first period goals.
The Canucks have registered a point in 17 straight games, having not lost in regulation since December 5th against the St Louis Blues.
BATTLE OF THE PLAYMAKING GOALIES
The Adam Oates and Ron Francis of goaltenders face off tonight in New York.
Henrik Lundqvist leads the NHL in goalie assists this season with four. He’s registered assists in three straight games for the Rangers, tying an NHL record. It’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the 2001-02 season when Ed Belfour did it with the Dallas Stars.
Cory Schneider is no slouch either. He sits second behind Lundqvist in the NHL in assists with three, despite playing 23 fewer games this season. The three assists are a new career high for Schneider.
Tom Barrasso holds the record for career assists by a goaltender with 48 assists in 19 seasons. Roberto Luongo’s childhood hero, Grant Fuhr, holds the season assist record with 14, set during the 1983-84 season. Kirk Mclean is the Canucks all time leader with 21 assists.