Vancouver Canucks preview: Clash with Alain Vigneault, Rangers

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 22: Derrick Pouliot
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 22: Derrick Pouliot /

The Canucks take their act to Broadway to face Alain Vigneault and his mediocre New York Rangers in game four of this six game road trip. 

Though we are just a month away from Christmas, Santa has brought an early present for the Vancouver Canucks and their fans. This isn’t the kind of gift you repackage and give a friend for their birthday, but a present that is actually useful and can be cherished for a long time. This gift is none other than Mr. Brock Boeser.

A diamond in the rough with hair that would give Ron Burgundy a complex, Boeser has been everything this Canucks team could’ve hoped for and more. With 22 points in 20 games this year, and points in six straight games, he has been the beacon of hope that this fanbase can hang its hat on. He will look to continue his scoring ways with Henrik Lundqvist and the bright lights of New York all gazing on him.

The rest of the Canucks team hasn’t been too shabby either. Lost in all the Brock Boeser fandom has been the good play of other Canuck players such as Loui Eriksson and Thomas Vanek. Though it safe to say Eriksson will never be worth what the Canucks are paying him, his 7 points in 11 games, as well as his uncanny ability to draw penalties, are good signs that he is working hard to help the team win. Vanek has six assists in his last six games, showing great creativity in vision in the offensive zone.

Though the Canucks are not going to rip the barn doors off the NHL, we should all take solace in the fact that they are entertaining and competitive again! That’s all we’ve asked this season and they have delivered!

After a horrendously slow start to the season, a start so bad that people were feverishly calling for the firing of coach Alain Vigneault, the New York Rangers have rebounded nicely and have come within one point of a wild card spot. The Rangers have won their last two games by a combined score of 8-2.

The Rangers have some world class talent in goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (whose hair also rivals that of Brock Boeser) and Swedish Justin Bieber Mika Zibanejad, who leads the team in scoring.

The Canucks will have to put their best foot forward if they want to win this game against a Rangers team that is trending in the right direction.

The Canuck Way takes a look at all of this and more in our Canucks game day preview!

Vancouver Canucks


2017-18 Record: 11-9-3

2017-18 Record vs Rangers: 0-0-0

Goals For: 63

Goals Against: 64

Injuries (from Rotoworld): Erik Gudbranson (wrist, day to day), Derek Dorsett (back/neck, day to day)

Who’s on offence

Bo Horvat has had a respectable start to the season with 17 points in 23 games. He has found a new home at the front of the net on the first powerplay unit, a spot where I can see him flourishing, since he has the size and hand-eye coordination to get rebounds or tip pucks home.

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Jake Virtanen has one point on this road trip, and has formed an effective line with the Sedins. Though he didn’t have his finest performance in New Jersey, he has been doing a lot of the right things lately, from going in hard on the forecheck, to trying to get open when the Sedins are cycling the puck in the corner. I have feeling that “Big Tuna” is going to be scoring more often if he keeps his level of play up.

As mentioned earlier, Loui Eriksson has had a good start to the year. With two goals in three games, he seems to have found a home on line with fellow Euros Thomas Vanek and Markus GranlundHe has been working hard and doing the right things when it comes to creating offensive opportunities. Look for him to get on the score sheet.

Daniel Sedin is two points away from 1,000 in his career. Look for brother Hank and Big Tuna to try and help him reach this great achievement.

Who’s on defence

Derrick Pouliot has proven to be a very saavy pick up by GM and full time lightning rod Jim Benning. He has shown well as a partner for Alex Edler, allowing the Canucks to pair Chris Tanev with Ben Hutton, giving the Canucks a solid top four. With more experience and powerplay time, Pouliot is going to put up even more numbers, and may even turn out to be the Canucks highest scoring defenceman; look for him to be a difference maker tonight.

Troy Stecher had a decent first outing after being out of the lineup for a month due to injury. With Pouliot taking his spot on the powerplay, look for Stecher to be more effective on 5v5 and used more in an increased penalty killing role.

Who’s in net

Jacob Markstrom gets the start, and will look to shrug off a disappointing start against the New Jersey Devils.

Projected lineup

Sven Baertschi—Bo Horvat—Brock Boeser

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Jake Virtanen

Loui Eriksson—Markus Granlund—Thomas Vanek

Brendan Gaunce—Brandon Sutter—Sam Gagner

Alexander Edler—Derrick Pouliot

Ben Hutton—Chris Tanev

Michael Del Zotto—Troy Stecher

*lineups courtesy of the dailyfaceoff

New York Rangers


2017-18 Record: 12-9-2

2017-18 Record vs Canucks: 0-0-0

Goals For: 74

Goals Against: 69

Injuries (from Rotoworld): Ryan McDonagh (Abdomen, day to day), Boo Nieves (Lower Body, day to day)

Who’s on offence

Mika Zibanejad is a legitimate number one centre. Why the Senators traded him is an absolute mystery to me. With 22 points in 23 games, look for him to be buzzing in the Canucks zone all night long.

Pavel Buchnevich has proven to an impressive youngster, with 17 points in 23 games. Though he only has two points in his last five games, look for him to try his hardest to put more points up on the board.

The Rangers also have a few of the usual suspects leading the way such as Mats Zuccarello ( 18 points in 23 games) and J.T. Miller (17 points in 23 games).

Who’s on defence

Kevin Shattenkirk has been a great addition to the Rangers blueline with 17 points in 23 games (production equivalent to that of Bo Horvat’s). He is always dangerous in the offensive zone, especially on the powerplay.

Young defenceman Brady Skjei has also had a decent start to the season with 8 points in 23 games. After getting a shout out on Saturday Night Live, Skjei has 3 points in his last 3 games. Look for him to have a strong game.

Who’s in net

Henrik Lundqvist is a legend. Though he didn’t have a strong start to the season, Lundqvist has settled in, sporting a goals-against-average of 2.62, and a save percentage of .918. He will probably be starting.

Projected lineup

Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Pavel Buchnevich

Rick Nash – Kevin Hayes – Jesper Fast

Michael Grabner – J.T. Miller – Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey – Boo Nieves – Paul Carrey

Brady Skjei – Kevin Shattenkirk

Brendan Smith – Nick Holden

Marc Staal – Steven Kampfer

Keys to victory

Vancouver Canucks

  1. Aggressive Attack. With the Rangers missing stud defenceman Ryan McDonagh, they need to take advantage of a defence corps that is below average.
  2. Powerplay zone entry. Once the Canucks are in the offensive zone they are effective, but getting in has been bad. If they can improve this, their chances of capitalizing on the powerplay increases.

New York Rangers

  1. Strong first period. The Canucks have shown the tendency to start games slow and let in early goals. If the Rangers can score early and get the crowd behind them, then they can potentially clobber the Canucks.
  2. Strong goaltending. Lundqvist needs to be sharp, especially against hard shooting Brock Boeser.


Alex Hoegler

4. 95. 3. 104. Final

4-3 Rangers. Canucks always struggle with matinees, and the Blueshirts usually own them with their slick speed and superioir depth on defence. It won’t change here.

Scott Rosenhek

2. 95. 3. 104. Final

3-2 Canucks. That was an ugly loss against the Devils. Canucks come back to beat Alain Vigneault’s team. Daniel Sedin gets point number 999 and 1000. It would be pretty fitting for Daniel to break 1000 points against AV. You also know what’s next. Tommy Gun will get a goal! Rangers get goals from Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello.

Andrew Nazareth

104. Final. 1. 95. 2

2-1 Canucks. Both goalies put on a show and keep this a tight match. It goes to overtime, where (believe it or not) Virtanen gets a chance to use his speed and shot to score the winner. Loui Eriksson nets the regulation goal for the Canucks, while Pavel Buchnevich counters for the Rangers.

Next: Top Prospects week: Pettersson, Juolevi and Dahlen

Tyler Shipley

95. 1. 104. Final. 4

New York plays afternoon games more often and the fact that game time is 11:00 on the west coast is just too tough on the physical routines. It won’t look like a great effort on the ice, but it will be all Vancouver can do to muster a goal