Tale of the Tape: Pre-season Game 6
Tonight’s Game is presented by BCIT
|Pre-season Record: 1-4-0
Last Game: 0-5 L at San Jose (SEP.24.13)
2013 Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Meeting: 0-4 L (OCT.18.11)
|Pre-season Record: 1-3-0
Last Game: 3-5 L at Edmonton (SEP.24.13)
2013 Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Meeting: 4-0 W (OCT.18.11)
The Vancouver Canucks (1-4-0) close out their pre-season tonight when they host a familiar face in former head coach Alain Vigneault and the New York Rangers (1-3-0).What You Need to Know
- Tonight marks the sixth and final pre-season game for the Canucks this year. For the Rangers, it is their fifth of six pre-season games. New York concludes their pre-season tomorrow night when they face the LA Kings in Las Vegas.
- The Canucks went down in defeat for the fourth time in five exhibition games on Tuesday night dropping a 5-0 decision to the San Jose Sharks. G Eddie Lack, making likely his final start of pre-season, made 28 saves in the loss.
- The Rangers suffered their second straight loss on Tuesday dropping a 5-3 decision to the Oilers on the road. D Marc Staal, F J.T. Miller and D Dan Girardi scored for the Rangers in the losing effort.
- Speaking of Staal, the Rangers blue-liner missed the majority of last season and playoffs after suffering a gruesome eye injury but has returned this season in fine form. He has two goals and 13 shots in three pre-season games and has averaged well over 20 minutes of ice-time.
- All six of the Rangers pre-season games this year have been away from home. The Rangers' famed home rink – Madison Square Garden – is undergoing renovations and won't be available to them until late October. The Rangers are scheduled to play their first nine regular season games on the road before hosting the Montreal Canadiens in their home opener on October 28.
- The expected goaltending match-up tonight will be between Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and New York's Henrik Lundqvist.
- The Canucks had a team day off yesterday so news on tonight's lineup will likely come out after the morning skate. Expect the Canucks to be all hands on deck tonight with this being their final pre-season contest. Some of the bubble players that still remain in camp include F Hunter Shinkaruk, F Brendan Gaunce, F Bo Horvat, F Mike Santorelli and D Yannick Weber. The Rangers, likewise, did not skate yesterday but are expected to dress a strong lineup as well.
- Plenty of focus tonight will be behind the two teams' respective benches as this is the first meeting between the Rangers and the Canucks since the teams swapped head coaches over the off-season with Alain Vigneault taking over in New York and John Tortorella signing on in Vancouver. These teams will meet twice during the regular season this year, including on April 1 when the Rangers make a return trip to Rogers Arena.
- Alain Vigneault won't be the only familiar face to Canucks fans behind the Rangers' bench. Also behind their bench is Scott Arniel, who spent several seasons within the Canucks organization most notably as head coach of their farm team at various times in Manitoba and Chicago, respectively.
- The Canucks and Rangers did not face each other last season as a result of the lockout shortened season scrapping all cross-Conference contests.
Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on TSN. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- Torts gets his troops fired up. There might not be any points on the line in this game but there are certainly plenty of bragging rights for the two respective bench bosses. What better way for the Canucks to get in good graces with their new head coach than by helping him score a big win over their old head coach?
- The kids make use of their last opportunity. With this being the last pre-season contest before the real season starts a week from tonight, all the young bubble players that get to dress tonight knows it could be their last opportunity to stay with the club this year. If they have any intention of cracking the lineup, they'll need to lay it all on the line tonight.
- They find a way to bounce back. After an embarrassing outing on Tuesday in San Jose, a bounce back effort will be needed if for nothing else than to give them a bit of confidence heading into the regular season.
The Rangers Win If...
- AV's new crew comes up big. Just like the Canucks will be motivated to help Torts score a win over his old club, you'd have to figure the Rangers are just as fired up to do the same for Alain Vigneault tonight. That's especially the case seeing as how it's a homecoming for AV.
- They channel Vigneault's old team's winning habits. It may only be pre-season but the last thing the Rangers want is to come up empty on their Western Canada road swing which has already seen them lose to the Flames and Oilers. Doing so would be particularly embarrassing for AV who used to have a habit of watching his team beat up other Western Canadian foes at will.
- They don't look ahead to Vegas. This one probably needs no explaining but with the Rangers set to conclude their pre-season tomorrow night in Sin City, some of the players might already be thinking about the city that never sleeps. They just can't forgot they've got some business to attend to tonight first.
Ones to Watch
Jannik Hansen wasn't one of the front-runners to be a first-line winger at the start of camp but it's looking more and more likely that is where he's going to slot in when the regular season opens in one week.
Hansen has spent the most of the past two games lining up on Vancouver's top unit alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin and he certainly has not looked out of place. The 27-year-old Dane has also been one of the Canucks' most consistent forwards so far in pre-season play as far as his offensive output is concerned. He has two goals and three points in four games played to go along with 14 shots.
Hansen finished last season as Vancouver's third-leading point producers behind only the twins with 10 goals and 27 points. He was on pace to set a new career-high in points had the season not been shortened due to the lockout.
If there was one member of the Rangers who wasn't too choked up about their head coaching change in the off-season, it would probably be Brad Richards.
The 33-year-old, who signed a massive nine-year deal worth $60 million with the Blueshirts two summers ago, had a tough time trying to live up to the expectations in his second stint working with John Tortorella. In the past two seasons since joining the Rangers, Richards has only managed to amass 36 goals and 100 points in 128 games. He's seen his ice-time diminish to the point where he ultimately became a healthy scratch in New York's brief playoff run last year.
Richards hasn't exactly lit it up playing under Alain Vigneault either albeit the sample size has been quite small. In two pre-season games, he has zero points and a minus-three rating.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.