The New York media has grown accustomed over the years to dealing with an ornery Tortorella and they might have had to do so again on Saturday had the Canucks not kicked off their four-game road trip in Ottawa on Thursday with an impressive 5-2 win over the Sens. The Canucks will now try to string together consecutive wins for the first time in over a month when they face Vigneault's Rangers, who are playing some of their best hockey since the coaching change.
The Vigneault era in the Big Apple did not exactly get off to a scintillating start as the Rangers stumbled to a 3-7-0 start but they are 10-6-0 since then despite dropping a 3-2 decision yesterday afternoon to the Bruins. As was the case at times for Vigneault's Canucks during his final season in Vancouver, the Rangers are having difficulties finding the back of the net this season averaging just 2.12 goals per game so it should make for an interesting match-up against Torts' Canucks who are struggling with similar problems as well. Kevin Bieksa did not skate in yesterday's practice but is expected to play tonight. Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist are the likely starters for their respective clubs.
Puck drop at 11 am PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Do it for Torts. The players know how much going back to MSG and coming away with a win would mean for Torts. That alone should be more than enough motivation to get the job done this afternoon.
Keep the power play clicking. Vancouver's man-advantage is as good as it has been all season right now. They've scored in three straight games going 3-for-14 in the process and they'll need to be strong again tonight against a Rangers' PK that ranks among the best.
The King stays sharp. Henrik Lundqvist has only started back-to-back games once this season and the last time he did he was yanked after allowing four goals in an eventual 9-2 loss to San Jose back in early October. If he gets the call today again after playing yesterday, he can't afford any mental lapses especially early on.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Rangers this season against Western Conference teams (3-6-0).
Win percentage for the Canucks this season against Eastern Conference teams (9-3-2).
NY-born players on the Canucks roster: Chris Higgins (Smithtown) and Tom Sestito (Rome).
Straight losses for the Canucks to the Rangers in head-to-head meetings entering play today.
Years since the Canucks and Rangers last met – a 1-0 win for New York on Jan 13, 2011.
Years since the Canucks' last win at MSG – 6-3 on Nov. 19, 2008. They have played just once there since.