After beginning their five-game road swing with a win on Long Island, the Vancouver Canucks (28-8-6) will look to make it two in a row tonight when they pay their first visit to Madison Square Garden in just over two years to face the New York Rangers (25-16-3).
Immediately following their win over the Islanders on Tuesday, the Canucks bolted out of Uniondale for New York City. The hasty departure, which officially was in an attempt to beat a snow storm, seemed appropriate for a team that had just stolen two points and were looking for a quick getaway.
As hard as it is to critique a game in which the Canucks fired a season-high 51 shots on goal and ultimately emerged victorious, it seems fairly obvious that Tuesday’s outing was far from being the Canucks’ finest hour. Facing a woeful Islanders team that began the night trailing them by 30 points in the standings, had seemingly more bodies in the sickbay than in the stands at the Nassau Coliseum, and threw a rookie minor-leaguer into the fire to face one of the NHL’s top scoring teams, the Canucks still needed to engineer a late third-period comeback after squandering a pair of one-goal leads to earn a 4-3 shootout win in a game many thought would be a laugher.
As has been their mandate throughout their hot streak, which has now reached 17 straight games without a regulation loss (14-0-3), the Canucks won’t dwell too much on the past and will instead focus on what should be a much tougher test facing a Rangers team that boasts one of the top goaltenders in the League in Henrik Lundqvist. It could mean a long night for Vancouver’s shooters who have managed just four goals in their last two outings and haven’t seen much in the way of production lately from the likes of Jeff Tambellini (no points in last seven games), Mason Raymond (no points in last three games and no goals in last five), or Mikael Samuelsson (one assist in last eight games) to name a few.
One player who has been at the top of his game lately is Roberto Luongo, despite the fact he allowed three goals on Tuesday for the first time since prior to Christmas when he surrendered five in Detroit. Luongo, who set a new franchise record two nights ago by extending his career-high regulation unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-2) with the shootout win against the team that drafted him, is expected to get the night off against the Rangers with Vancouver playing the first of two games on back-to-back nights. Cory Schneider, who has an opportunity to match Luongo’s now-franchise record 11-game regulation unbeaten streak, will be looking to help the Canucks move five points clear of the idle Red Wings for top spot in the NHL. Vancouver enters the day three points ahead of Detroit in the standings and will be using up their last remaining game in hand on the Red Wings in tonight’s contest.
Read the entire preview exclusively at Canucks.com.
Tonight’s game faces off at 4:00 pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. The game is also streamed on Canucks.com. Listen live on the TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.