The Rangers and Vancouver Canucks could not be on more different paths through 13 games this season.
On the one side, the Rangers are riding a five-game winning streak during which they've scored 26 goals and have an NHL-leading 55 overall. New York is also the only team that has 11 players who have at least nine points thus far this season.
And on the other, the Canucks coming in on a nine-game losing streak, eight of which have come in regulation. They have the NHL's least productive offense with just 21 goals through 13 games. It's leading scorers have just six points.
But the Rangers are not overlooking the Canucks in the final game before a week-long road trip through western Canada and Columbus. In fact, the Rangers are expecting a very strong effort from the Canucks, who lost Monday night in Brooklyn.
"Any time you're going through a stretch like that your work ethic goes up, your attention to detail goes up," Marc Staal said after the team's morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "If it's not going your way, sometimes you get stuck in those ruts, but their effort and their intensity is going to be there and we have to be able to match it."
With the road trip on the horizon - the team's real first trip of the season - Michael Grabner said the Rangers must take care of business tonight before they look ahead.
"We can't look ahead," Grabner stated. "We have to get the win tonight first then go on the road. I think everyone is focused on tonight we'll see what happens after."
It'll be Antti Raanta between the pipes when the Rangers goes for their sixth win in a row. Raanta is 3-0 this season with a 2.33 GAA and a .930 SV%.
Head coach Alain Vigneault said the Rangers are sticking to the plan of limiting Henrik Lundqvist's workload, and the fact that Raanta is playing well makes it even easier.
"In the schedule the way it is this year, we need two goaltenders that can play," Vigneault said. "We've looked at the numbers, we've looked at the schedule. This part right here, five games in eight nights. Next week we've got three in four, after that we've got five in seven and a half, so both goaltenders are going to play and both goaltenders are playing well right now."
Injured forward Josh Jooris skated with the team this morning in a non-contact jersey. While his injured shoulder is improving, Vigneault said he's still a few weeks away from seeing any game action.