It's safe to say the Canucks are glad to be home. Since their last game at Rogers Arena 18 days ago, the Canucks have played seven straight games away from home posting a record of 3-3-1. It's a respectable run but, in many ways, a disappointing one considering they began the trip 3-1-0 before following up with three consecutive defeats, including falling 3-1 to the Canadiens on Tuesday night in a very emotional game at the Bell Centre. There will be plenty of emotion in tonight's game as well but certainly not to the scale of Tuesday night and likely not even as much as when the Rangers last visited Rogers Arena back on April 1. On that night, former Canucks head coach made his triumphant return to the place he once called home and the New Yorkers earned a 3-1 win to sweep the season series over the John Tortorella-led Canucks. Tortorella, the former Rangers head coach who was replaced by Vigneault in the Big Apple, was fired by Vancouver exactly one month after that loss to New York.
These days the Rangers don't quite resemble the team that surged all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last season but they are starting to turn the corner. They've won three of their last five games including knocking off the Penguins 4-3 in overtime on Monday. If the Rangers want to get back to being the team that can contend for a Cup, they'll need to figure out how to win on the road. New York is just 3-5-1 away from MSG this season and has only one win in their last six road outings (1-4-1). This game is the start of a four-game road trip for the Rangers that will also see them visit Edmonton, Calgary and Carolina. Look for the goaltending match-up to be between former Vezina Trophy winners Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist. Shawn Matthias, barring a setback, appears likely to return to the lineup tonight. Derek Dorsett is set to play his first game against the Rangers since being traded to the Canucks. He was part of their run to the Stanley Cup Final last season. The Rangers expect to have Chris Kreider back in their lineup after he sat out Monday's win over Pittsburgh with a neck injury.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Four lines contributing. Coach Desjardins hasn't been much of a line juggler so far so you know he's not happy with the contributions he's been getting when he takes the blender to the lines as he did for yesterday's practice. Hopefully the new look will get the Canucks back to where they were a few weeks ago when it seemed every unit was chipping in.
Win one for yourselves. Last season, facing the Rangers would have brought out the "win one for Torts" storylines. That's not the case anymore. The Canucks who were here when AV was – and there are many of them – should have no problems being motivated to beat their former head coach after Vigneault got the better of them twice last season.
The King returns. The Rangers have been spoiled by having an all-world goalie since 2005.06 but, this season, Henrik Lundqvist has been rather ordinary. His 2.71 GAA and .906 save percentage are both career-worst numbers. He's traditionally been good against the Canucks posting a record of 3-3-0 with two shutouts, a 2.22 GAA and .934 save percentage.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Rangers this season when they allow three-or-more goals.
Years since the Canucks last beat the Rangers (Nov. 3, 2009). They've lost their last four head-to-head meetings including two straight at home.
Game point streak for Rick Nash entering tonight's game (6-3-9). His career-high is nine games.
Games, regular season and playoffs, played by Derek Dorsett in parts of two seasons with the Rangers.
Year that Ryan Miller won the Vezina Trophy.
Year that Henrik Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy.