After suffering a tough 1-0 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers are right back in action when they play host to the Vancouver Canucks (7:30 P.M. EST, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsCanucks
7thNHL Standing Rank19th

Previous Game

               Saturday afternoon, the Rangers saw their six-game point streak come to an end when they were defeated 1-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a game that could have gone either way but ultimately the Penguins came out on top. The lone goal in the game was a power-play goal by Evgeni Malkin. Special teams have been a major strength of the Rangers all year but on Saturday afternoon, the Penguins’ special teams won the battle and it was ultimately the difference. Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves in his eighth straight appearance.

               “It was as close to a playoff-like physicality game that we’ve had…,” said Barclay Goodrow. “I think both teams allowed under 30 shots and it could have gone either way.”


               The good news for the Rangers is they can quickly forget about Saturday as they have to prepare for the Vancouver Canucks. The Blueshirts will play their next three on home ice including against the Canucks, Blues, and Devils. In the first meeting between the two teams in Vancouver, the Blueshirts saw a two-goal third-period lead evaporate before losing in overtime. Thatcher Demko made a lot of quality saves in the final minutes of the game which ended up being the difference. Former Rangers draft pick J.T. Miller scored two goals including the winner in overtime.

               With the Rangers searching for offense expect Filip Chytil to return to the lineup. Chytil missed a game earlier in the week due to being under the weather. Head coach Gerard Gallant then opted to stick with the same lineup against Pittsburgh.

               “He’s fine,” Gallant said on Chytil. “It’s just that the team played really well the night before.”

               With Shesterkin starting the last game and the Rangers playing their second game in as many days, expect Alex Georgiev to get the start at Madison Square Garden. Georgiev last played on January 27th which was a 5-3 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Georgiev made just 14 saves on 18 shots. In games in which Georgiev has had three or more days of rest, the Bulgarian-born netminder has a record of 2-3-1 with a save percentage well below .900. The 26-year-old last played 31 days ago.  


               A lot has changed since the beginning of November since the first meeting between the two sides. Most notably, Vancouver fired head coach Travis Green and General Manager Jim Benning on December 5th. After 25 games, the Canucks held a record 8-15-2 which had them sitting dead last in the Pacific Division. Vancouver also finished dead last in the Canadian Division last season.

               The Canucks have gone 17-7-4 since hiring Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach. They have won four of their past five games as they hope to continue to build momentum as they begin a four-game road trip starting in Manhattan. Leading Vancouver in goals and points is Miller. Miller has 20 goals and 57 points as his name continues to be rumored to be available before the trade deadline.

               Like the Rangers, Vancouver is also playing in a back-to-back set which starts against the Rangers and ends on Monday against the Devils. Boudreau will likely opt to play both goaltenders and they also have Jaroslav Halak who has had a lot of success against the Rangers during his time with the Islanders. Both goalies will feel confident if given the nod against the Rangers whether it’s Demko riding confidence from the last meeting or Halak riding his history.

Key to the Game

Despite losing the special teams battle on Saturday, the Rangers should be licking their chops if special teams become a factor on Sunday. The Canucks have struggled mightily especially on the penalty kill as they are currently dead last in the league. Vancouver has killed just 70.1% of the opposition’s power-play. The Blueshirts power-play currently sits in the top five.

Projected Lineup









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