Vancouver Canucks (32-21-3) at New York Rangers (34-16-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 19, 2015, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New York Rangers -148 / Vancouver Canucks +134 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The New York Rangers return to the ice on Thursday night for the first time since their thrilling come from behind victory over the rival New York Islanders on Monday night. It was a game that started out about as poorly as one could imagine, and continued to get worse until incredibly the Rangers were in front. Cam Talbot played the puck behind his own net off the opening face off and turned it over to John Tavares who buried it into an empty net to put the Rangers behind just 11 seconds into the contest. The Islanders would out shoot the Rangers 22-11 in the opening frame, but the Rangers managed to trail only by a goal after Ryan McDonagh’s sixth of the season cut the lead to 2-1. Just over a minute into the second period it was the Islanders striking again to increase their lead before Chris Kreider would get it right back less than two minutes later. Twenty-three seconds after Kreider got the Rangers within a goal it was McDonagh striking again with another blast from the point that made it a 3-3 game. It appeared as though the Rangers had all the momentum at that point but they couldn’t find a way to get the go ahead goal. Instead it was the Islanders regaining the lead just after a Derek Stepan penalty had expired, and early in the third period the Islanders would strike again to once again take a two goal lead. But just like the Rangers had done all night, they found a way to come back. Stepan would fire one stick side off a nice drop pass from Kreider, and less than two minutes later Stepan would find Martin St. Louis on a two-on-one that resulted in the equalizer. This time the Rangers wouldn’t allow their momentum to slip. They outshot the Islanders 18-6 in the final period and with under five minutes to go it was Kevin Klein who would net the game winner in a wild 6-5 win. Now the Rangers are going to be trying to avoid having a let down after a long road trip and emotional come from behind win against their rivals.
The Vancouver Canucks head to New York looking to keep pace in the tight Western Conference playoff race. They begin a five game East Coast road trip that would appear daunting if it weren’t for the fact that they get to face some underwhelming clubs. Yes, the Canucks will have to take on the Rangers and Islanders, but match ups with the Devils, Sabres, and struggling Bruins are all games that they should have the advantage in. If the Canucks can find a way to steal one of these two games against the Rangers or Islanders it could be a great road trip for them. Monday night the Canucks hosted the Minnesota Wild, one of the clubs chasing them, and came away with an important victory. The Canucks trailed 1-0 heading into the second period but got even on Henrik Sedin’s 10th goal of the season just 42 seconds into the frame. With the score still 1-1 Vancouver took the lead for good on Bo Horvath’s seventh goal of the season at just 1:33 of the third. Alex Biega added his first of the year and Eddie Lack Stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced in the 3-2 win. Vancouver is tied for second place in the Pacific Division with the Calgary Flames at 67 points. San Jose is third with 66 and the Los Angeles Kings right behind with 64. There’s no margin for error for the Canucks on this road trip.
This is a brutal spot for the Rangers after the road trip and after playing that wild game on Long Island on Monday night. They should be ripe for the taking if the Canucks can get off to a quick start. With that being said I still believe the Rangers are the better team but this might not be the best situation on Thursday night.