It feels like the Vancouver Canucks have been on the road for weeks now, but the last time they played in Vancouver was on November 2nd, a wild 7-6 overtime win over the Avalanche. The Canucks have been on the road for three games, with losses against Detroit and most recently Buffalo, with an 8-5 win against the Bruins. This will be their fourth game on a six-game road trip. The Canucks won’t be back home to play until Saturday, so it’s been a while since they’ve seen Rogers Arena.
It’s been a better than anticipated start for the Canucks this season. Their defence was expected to be in ruins, but how can they complain with a 10-6-0 start. Flip that record around to 6 wins, and that’s more of an accurate depiction of where most people had them at this point. The NHL is wide open, as we clearly witnessed last season when an expansion team went to the Stanley Cup Final.
That’s not to say the Canucks are going to be playing for the Stanley Cup, or even playing in the playoffs for that matter, but they aren’t going to be easy out for teams who take them lightly this season. Barring that the Canucks stay healthy. Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser both hit the injury report for an extended period of time last season, which essentially ended their season.
Just over a month into this season, Boeser is week-to-week with a groin injury, so here we go again. Unlike last season, Elias Pettersson is in Vancouver, though. No one expected Pettersson to develop this quickly, so there is the difference between being an above average team and below. We’ll see how they respond without Boeser in the lineup for a few games. The first test was an F against the Red Wings. Get our free Canucks vs. Rangers pick below.
Vancouver Canucks vs. N.Y. Rangers Pick
The Canucks have better depth this season, so the loss of Boeser doesn’t sting as much, but if this groin injury lingers, it will impact them over the long haul. They face a Rangers team who have been playing decent this season, all things considered. The Rangers are in blow it up mode, with management likely to send one or two of their veterans out of town. Playoff contenders will be interested, so that would help them compete for a Cup.
Henrik Lundqvist has said several times that he wants to remain a Ranger. The team could have retained Raanta, who has been having a fine year for the Coyotes, but Lundqvist wanted to stay. The Rangers enter with a record of 8-7-2. Their latest outing resulted in a 5-4 shootout win over the Blue Jackets on Saturday.
That was their sixth win in their last seven games to make for an impressive run. The Canucks have been struggling defensively, with 3.6 goals allowed per game in their last ten, compared to 3 goals allowed for the Rangers. The game against the Jackets was the first time they gave up more than 3 goals since October 28th.
Henrik got the night off in that one, but will likely be back in net against the Canucks tonight. Zuccarello would be nice to have in the lineup tonight, but he appears to be a game-time decision. No Boeser for the Canucks evens that up, though. The Rangers have gone 7-3 and 4-1 in their last ten and five games against the Canucks, including a three-game winning streak. They have scored an average of 5.6 goals on the Canucks in their last three meetings. His history against the Rangers is horrendous, as he sports a 3.59 GAA and 0.881 save percentage in six appearances. Amid a long road trip, the Canucks lose focus in NYC and likely suffer a second straight loss.