Time: 7 pm
Location: Madison Square Garden- New York, New York
The Vancouver Canucks come into New York with a 31-21-3 record which is good for second place in the Pacific Division. The Canucks have a long battle ahead of them as they are in one of the best divisions in hockey. The Rangers stroll into this matchup with boat loads of confidence as they too are in second place in their division. The Blueshirts come off an instant classic victory over their crosstown rivals in the New York Islanders. The Rangers also helped their cause two fold as they pulled even with the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the tight Metropolitan Division. This will be a great matchup between high powered Eastern Conference and Western Conference teams at the Garden.
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The Canucks have 67 points this season but cannot stop now as multiple teams are hot on their tail. The Canucks have many key player to their success as Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, and Ryan Miller are all integral parts to the team’s success. This team has been somewhat inconsistent against top tier teams as the Rangers beat them in their last meeting in Vancouver. The Canucks will have to have all of their players produce in order for them to walk out of Madison Square Garden with a win.
How do the Rangers top the game they played on Monday in Long Island? In the last meeting ever at Nassau Coliseum, the Rangers came back multiple times and won the game 6-5 to retain the huge two points. The Rangers have been driven this season by Rick Nash, Kevin Klein, Derick Brassard, and Mats Zuccarello. The Rangers will have a tough test on Thursday as the Canucks are a quality offensive threat.
Rangers- Martin St. Louis, Forward: The 39 year old forward is coming off a long goal-less streak but if the trend stays true, expect the future Hall of Famer to get hot. St. Louis went 15 straight games without a goal but finally ended that slump with a goal vs the Islanders. St. Louis has been scrutinized by the press and he will be looking to stay hot in order to help the Rangers get another key win.
Canucks- Henrik Sedin, Forward: The Canucks Swedish captain has had another quality season which is not a surprise. Sedan has helped carry the team along with his brother and fellow teammate Radim Vrbata. Henrik Sedin has scored 10 goals and dished out 38 assists which is good for 48 points on the season. Sedin will have to keep this up in order to beat a hot Rangers team.
The Rangers goalie situation is a question mark as Cam Talbot has played a significant amount of time which is some cause for concern. A 5 goals allowed display against the Islanders might be the sign for Alain Vigneault to go to back up Mackenzie Skapski. This situation can affect the final score of the game. If Talbot plays expect a back and forth affair in which the Rangers win by a final score of 4-3. If Skapski starts we might see another high scoring affair as the score will be 6-4 Canucks. Hopefully Talbot starts as this might be the most playing time he sees all season. This will be another great game but the final score depends on the goalie.