It’s the second game of back-to-backs and after playing their hearts out in a tough 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers need to be careful not to have a letdown. Vancouver is not to be taken lightly. Since they fired Coach Travis Green and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau, they have been one of the better teams in the NHL.
Under Boudreau, the Canucks are 17-7-4 and are making a move in the West, only five points out of the final wild card spot. Guess who their leading scorer is? Of course, it’s J.T. Miller, the ex-Ranger who has been long rumored to be headed back to New York. Miller has good timing, having his best NHL season with 20 goals and 57 points in 51 games with only one year left on his contract. Lately the trade rumors have calmed down as there is no reason for the Canucks to gut their lineup considering their revival and the fact that Miller doesn’t have to be dealt.
The Canucks beat Calgary 7-1 on Thursday, but have been inconsistent, beating Toronto and the Flames, but losing to the Islanders and Anaheim. The personnel is much the same, but they are a different team than the one the Rangers played in November.
As for the Blueshirts, Alexandar Georgiev will be getting the start, his first since January 27. His only other appearance was for 41 seconds against the Boston Bruins two weeks ago when Igor Shesterkin was removed for concussion protocol.
The only other meeting between these teams came 10 games into the season. The Rangers took a 2-0 lead into the third period, but blew the lead and lost on a J.T. Miller goal in overtime.
The Rangers gave the Canucks six power plays in that game, the most this season. While they killed them all, it didn’t help the Rangers’ offensive flow. Thatcher Demko was excellent in goal for the Canucks and he is expected to play tonight.
The Rangers have a 5-3-1 record in the second game of back-to-backs this season. but are better when at home, losing only once in five games.
Projected starting lineups
The Rangers lineup should be the same as against Washington and Pittsburgh, though Filip Chytil was a healthy scratch against the Penguins and he could find himself back in the lineup. Georgiev has faced Vancouver only once in his career, a 2-1 loss two years ago.
NEW YORK RANGERS
20 Kreider– 93 Zibanejad –13 Lafrenière
10 Panarin– 16 Strome – 29 Hunt
14 McKegg – 47 Barron – 15 Gauthier
21 Goodrow– 17 Rooney – 75 Reaves
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
6 Jones – 45 Schneider
70 Tanner Pearson – 9 J.T. Miller – 8 Conor Garland
92 Vasily Podkolzin – 53 Bo Horvat – 6 Brock Boeser
21 Nils Hoglander– 40 Elias Pettersson – 39 Alex Chiasson
64 Tyer Motte – 91 Juho Lammikko – 15 Matthew Highmore
23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 57 Tyler Myers
43 Quinn Hughes – 2 Luke Schenn
77 Brad Hunt – 27 Travis Hamonic
35 Thatcher Demko
41 Jaroslav Halak
Thatcher Demko’s only start against New York was the overtime win earlier this season. J.T. Miller has four goals and seven points in eight games against his former team.
How to watch and the live conversation
Game time is a half hour later than usual, starting at 7:30pm. The telecast will be on the MSG Network. The national live stream will be on ESPN+. The radio call will be on ESPN 98.7 FM.
Blue Line Station’s live conversation is up now and you can converse with your fellow Ranger fans. There are a lot of topics to talk about whether it be the merits of trading for J.T. Miller, Coach Gallant’s use of his third line or the Rangers’ power play.
Feel free to contribute in the comments section below.