New York Rangers Game Thread: 2/18, Canucks at Rangers

The Rangers return to the Garden for the first time since the 8th of February and tonight they are looking to win their fifth game in a row against AV's old club.

Game Fifty-Six, the Vancouver Canucks at the New York Rangers
Record: 34-16-5

Canucks vs Rangers coverage | Nucks Misconduct

We're back at the Garden after getting a perfect 8 points on the 4 game road trip! Tonight the Rangers put their four game winning streak on the line against Alain Vigneault's old hockey club, the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have been playing pretty well lately and are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games. Vancouver has a record of 32-21-3 on the season which puts them behind only the Ducks in the Pacific Division, although as of the writing of this game thread they are all kinds of knotted up with the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks in the standings. You know how tight and intense the race is in the Metropolitan Division? Well, the same thing is pretty much happening in the Pacific. The only difference is that the teams in the Metropolitan race for the top of the mountain are, for the most part, strictly better and have much better records.

The Canucks are right in the middle of the pack in regards to their goals for and goals against per game. Their goal differential on the year is +11, which should tell you that when they do win a game, it isn't often by a large margin. Just to put things in perspective, the Rangers, who have one of the most potent offensives in the NHL, have a goal differential of +38 which is tied for second in the league with the St. Louis Blues (the Nashville Predators are +43). So what will it take for the Rangers to keep their winning streak alive tonight? I'm going to go ahead and go with discipline, support, and the Garden Faithful. If the Garden isn't deafeningly loud tonight I would be absolutely shocked. This Rangers team has been an absolute blast to watch this season and they are finding all kinds of ways to win games. Hopefully the Blueshirts will get a boost from being back at MSG tonight and it will tip the scales in their favor against a Canucks team that should be shown respect because of their dynamic top line. Canucks' goalie Ryan Miller remains one of the league's most overrated goaltenders, so putting plenty of rubber on him and making him have to move laterally should be part the Rangers' recipe for success tonight. Here's hoping we see that winning streak hit 5 games in the Rangers first game back at the Garden since the 8th of February.

The New York Rangers' February Schedule

2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM (win.)
2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM (loss.)
2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM (overtime loss.)
2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:30 PM (I guess it was a win)
2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM (win.)
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM (Win!)
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM

Mike's Player to Watch: Cam Talbot

Well, Marty got his goal, so he's off the hook for now. Who is my spotlight on tonight? Cam Talbot. Talbot has been a bit of a headache since coming in for Hank after the injury... which is strange considering how often the team has been winning. Of course, it isn't all on the goalie that went to the University of Alabama. Talbot's blueliners have to do everything they can to support him and take the pressure off of him. Almost all of us think that Cam has the goods to be a starter in the league. This is a big chance for him to show just how good he can be and is when his team needs him most. Let's see if we get a stronger performance out of Talbot now that the Islanders game is behind us and we're back on Garden ice.

Let's go Rangers! Drop the puck. Go get two points, boys.