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Rangers battle Vancouver for sixth straight win; Skjei becoming the complete package

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-canucks-2-19

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After another five goal game, the Rangers (10-3-0) will aim to make it six consecutive wins tonight when they take on the Vancouver Canucks (4-8-1) at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are coming off of a 5-2 beat down of the Winnipeg Jets, marking the team’s fifth straight win and their fifth straight game scoring at least five goals. With goal scoring from all over the team and pretty good goaltending as of late, Alain Vigneault and his squad are climbing up the NHL standings.

The Vancouver Canucks are trending in the exact opposite direction. They’ve lost their last nine games after starting the season 4-0-0 and are really struggling right now. The Canucks lost last night against the Islanders and need to turn things around, fast.

This is the first matchup between these two teams this season and the only one at MSG. The teams split the season series last year, with each team winning on home ice. Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist, Rick Nash had two helpers, and JT Miller and Mats Zuccarello each got a goal, with Miller’s being an overtime winner.

Ryan Miller started last night in Brooklyn, so it’ll be Jacob Markstrom in net for the Canucks. He’s been the better goalie for Vancouver with both Miller and him making seven starts. So far, he’s 3-2-1 with a 2.11 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

Bo Horvat is a young, up and coming players on the Canucks who is off to a good start to the season. He has four goals and five points in the team’s 14 games. He scored a career high 16 goals and 40 points last season, and is aiming to build on that this year.

The Sedin twins are the two highest scorers on the Canucks, despite both of them only scoring four goals and six points. However, both have been dangerous and consistent scorers in the league since they have started playing. Daniel is the more dangerous player because he shoots more, but the Rangers have to keep an eye out for both of them.

Alain Vigneault said that he wanted to have Antti Raanta start more this season, and he’s giving him the start tonight. Raanta has won all three games that he started, posting a 2.33 GAA and a .930 save percentage. His last start was a 35 save win over the Boston Bruins.

Kevin Hayes was named the NHL’s third star of the week after a fantastic showing in the team’s four games last week, where he scored in every single one of them and tallying six points. He’s scored a total of 12 points (6-6-12) and sits in second place on the team in scoring, despite not scoring a single point on the power play. Hayes is becoming the complete all-around player that the team expected him to be.

Brady Skjei picked up an assist against the Jets, giving him eight for the season and tying him with William Nylander and Zach Werenski for the most assists among rookies this season. The offensive game of his game is developing very nicely, and he has looked superb when passing the puck, skating with it to set up plays or start a breakout. He’s the first rangers rookie defenseman since Brian Leetch to post an assist in five straight games or more, and the second one this season after Ryan McDonagh. It would be really sweet to see him get his first career goal tonight, because he’s come close before.

The Rangers and the Canucks will faceoff at Madson Square Garden at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINEUP

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller

Pavel Buchnevich-Brandon Pirri-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on November 8, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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