John Tortorella was hoping for a heroic homecoming at Madison Square Garden that involved kicking the rear end of his former team and emerging with a win. Unfortunately, Alain Vigneault and the Rangers had other ideas.
Chris Krieder scored three times, including twice in the opening period, to lead the Rangers to a convincing 5-2 win over the Canucks on Saturday spoiling Torts' first game back at MSG since being relieved of his duties as New York's head coach in the off-season.
The loss dropped the Canucks' season record 13-10-5 and prevented them from netting consecutive wins for the first time in over a month.
With most of the talk heading into the game on the Canucks' side being about getting Torts a win over his former team in his former home, the Canucks came far from being able to deliver on their promise.
Vancouver had several opportunities to open the scoring early in the contest but was stymied by somewhat-surprise starter Cam Talbot, who got the call in favour of Henrik Lundqvist, and had no response when Krieder scored twice in a span of 4:17 towards the end of the opening frame.
Any realistic hopes for a comeback for the Canucks were dashed when Rick Nash found the back of the net just 17 seconds into the second period to increase the Rangers' lead to 3-0 and chase Roberto Luongo, who made just seven saves on 10 shots, from the crease.
Eddie Lack made 12 saves on 14 shots in relief.
Kreider completed his hat-trick with a deft deflection of an Anton Stralman point shot just past the midway mark of the third period. Michael Del Zotto also had a goal for the Rangers while David Booth and Daniel Sedin had the Vancouver markers.
Talbot made 35 saves on 37 shots for the Rangers to notch his sixth consecutive victory.
The Canucks are back in action tomorrow when they face the Carolina Hurricanes in another afternoon matinee.
A PAGE FROM GRETZKY'S BOOK: Chris Kreider's hat-trick was the first three-goal performance by a Rangers' player against the Canucks since #99 managed the feat way back on October 11, 1997. That game, incidentally, happened to be Gretzky's final game played in Vancouver.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD: Daniel Sedin's late third period goal extended the Canucks' consecutive games streak with a power play goal to four. It also extended his personal point streak to five games (3-5-8). The goal also meant, however, that the Canucks lost in regulation for the first time this season when scoring two-or-more goals in a game. They had been 13-0-4 prior to Saturday when scoring two-or-more goals in a game.
BACK-TO-BACK BOOTH: After snapping 11-game personal goal drought on Thursday in Ottawa, David Booth now has goals in back-to-back games after scoring on Saturday in New York. This is the first time since March 14 and 17, 2012 that he has scored in consecutive outings.
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