Preview: Rangers at Canucks
Wins are coming few and far between for both the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, who are each playing out the string with 13 games remaining in the regular season. The Rangers have been much more competitive despite a slew of narrow losses as they continue a four-game road trip with a visit to Vancouver on Wednesday night.
New York has dropped seven of its last eight games (1-2-5) after kicking off the trek with a 3-2 overtime loss at Edmonton. Six of those eight losses have come by one goal for the Rangers, who have won four straight overall against the Canucks and are 5-1-0 in their last six visits to Vancouver. While five of New York's past seven games were settled beyond regulation, the Canucks have made things hard on themselves by trailing by at least two goals in four straight contests. Vancouver has lost 13 of its last 17 games overall (4-10-3) while posting one regulation victory in that span.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (28-28-13): Rookie Brendan Lemieux, acquired from the Winnipeg Jets just before the trade deadline, had his second two-point effort in three games with a goal and an assist in Edmonton. While Lemieux has been a force with at least three hits in five of his seven games with New York, fellow rookie Brett Howden scored the tying goal in regulation to end a 35-game drought dating to Nov. 12. "I'm real happy for him - and he almost got another one," coach David Quinn said. "So hopefully this is a sign of things to come."
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (28-32-9): Quinn Hughes, last year's first-round pick (No. 7 overall), signed a three-year contract Sunday but may not be ready to make his NHL debut Wednesday. Hughes suffered a bruised ankle playing for the University of Michigan on Friday. “He won’t play until he’s 100 percent healthy and when we get that word, and swelling goes down in his ankle, he’ll be in the lineup," general manager Jim Benning said. "I want him to get adjusted to the speed and strength, but there are aspects of his game that can help us right now.”
1. Canucks F Brock Boeser, who ended an eight-game goal drought Saturday, has scored twice in two meetings versus New York.
2. Rangers F Mika Zibanejad has matched his career high with 27 goals but has scored once in 11 games.
3. Canucks G Jacob Markstrom is 14-8-4 with a 2.74 goals-against average at home.
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Canucks 2