|NYR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|VAN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
The Vancouver Canucks haven't lost a home game in regulation in more than two months. The New York Rangers, meanwhile, haven't won in British Columbia in more than 10 years.
The Rangers continue their rare tour of western Canada on Thursday night when they visit GM Place for the first time in five seasons.
Vancouver (22-14-4) started this season with just one win in its first seven home games, but has earned a point in all 12 since, going 10-0-2 over that span with four shutouts. They've allowed just 11 goals in that stretch, and most recently beat defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim 2-1 on Sunday.
The Canucks have also won their last three home games against the Rangers (20-16-4), but haven't hosted them since a 3-1 victory in November 2002. The last time New York beat Vancouver on the road, Wayne Gretzky had a hat trick in a 6-3 win in October 1997, but the Rangers are just 2-7-0 overall against the Canucks since then, and haven't met since Vancouver won 3-2 in December 2005 at Madison Square Garden.
Both teams are coming off road losses to Calgary. New York fell to the Flames 4-3 on Wednesday, as goalie Henrik Lundqvist continued to struggle, stopping just 18 shots.
"We had our opportunities and we had our chances but they capitalized on theirs while we made some key mistakes," Rangers center Scott Gomez said.
Lundqvist is just 2-3-1 with a 3.75 goals-against average in his last six games, and lost his only career start against the Canucks the last time these teams squared off.
Against the Flames, Gomez extended his points streak to 13 games, and has four goals and 15 assists over that span. Jaromir Jagr also has at least one point in eight straight, totaling four goals and 10 assists.
But the offense will have to contend with one of the league's best goalies in Roberto Luongo. He turned aside 18 shots, but the Canucks lost 2-1 at Calgary on Monday. Luongo has started every game of Vancouver's home points streak, compiling a 0.90 GAA over those 12 games.
However, in 17 career starts against the Rangers all with Florida, Luongo is just 5-10-1 with a tie and a 2.84 GAA.
Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver just 2:34 into the loss to the Flames, but the Canucks couldn't notch another goal despite putting 21 shots on goal in the final two periods.
"We had our chances," Vancouver's Markus Naslund said. "I didn't think we played our best hockey but I felt we weren't out of the game. It just wasn't there for us tonight."
The Canucks have managed more than two goals in a game just once in their last five, continues to rely heavily on the line of Naslund and twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin for scoring. The trio has combined for nine goals and 19 assists in the last seven games, while the rest of the team has nine goals and 14 assists.
With 48 points, Vancouver sits atop the tightly-bunched Northwest Division, as just four points separate the top four teams. The Canucks look to avoid going two straight games without a point for the first time since Oct. 28-Nov. 1.
|Jan 03 '08||NYR 0 at VAN 3||R. Kesler|