The Rangers host the Vancouver Canucks tonight, seeking to extend their winning streak to six games before heading out on their first multi-game road trip of the season, a four game jaunt through Western Canada and Columbus. Vancouver are in the midst of their own road trip, playing the fifth of six before heading back home to host the Stars on Sunday.
While everything has been going right lately for New York, the same cannot be said for Vancouver. The Western Canadian team started the season with four straight wins – albeit two of them in the shootout, and a third in overtime – but have slumped to nine straight losses.
They have won just one game in regulation in the first thirteen, and have been shut out four times in the last seven games, while being outscored 32-12 in their nine game losing streak. Their offense has been so bad, that twelve Rangers have registered more points than the team leading Henrik and Daniel Sedin who have an identical 4 goals and 2 assists.
In net, Ryan Miller has borne the brunt of the losses, starting the year with a 1-6-0 ranking with a 2.76 GAA and .910 save percentage. His goalie partner Jacob Markstrom has done better, with a 3-2-1 record, a 2.11 GAA and .920, and would appear to be slotted to start following Miller’s appearance last night in their 4-2 loss to the Islanders.
Former Blueshirt Derek Dorsett has 23 penalty minutes in nine games this season, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be in the line-up. He skated as an alternate on the fourth line in yesterday’s practice and could potentially be slotted in. Fellow former Rangers Jayson Megna is expected to miss the game with a shoulder injury.
New York is 3-0-1 on home ice against the Canucks, dating back to January 13th, 2011 a 1-0 win on the back of Henrik Lundqvist who stopped all 31 shots he faced. Close games having been a feature of recent match-ups, the previous two at MSG have finished in a 3-2 OT win to the Rangers – with J.T. Miller scoring the winner, and a 5-4 shootout loss.
It looks like New York will turn to Antti Raanta for his fourth start of the season, and the Finn will be looking to extend his season record to 4-0-0. Dan Girardi will also return to the line-up after sitting out Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Jets to help spell a busy season, with Adam Clendening returning to the press box.