Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment
Nucks Fan Rebuild & Retool Center - Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment

Coming off a massive win in New Jersey as they continue this tough seven game road trip, the Canucks now face a back to back against the New Yorks, with the Eastern Conference leading Rangers first up. Time for a little payback, perhaps?

CANUCKS (25-11-3) at NEW YORK RANGERS (26-10-2)

MADISON SQUARE GARDENS, NEW YORK, NY

4:00 PM PST

SPORTSNET

Saturday's win in New Jersey was far more than just an important two points for the Vancouver Canucks. Bouncing back from a disappointing loss in St Louis, as well as a massive confidence boost to get their first win in New Jersey since 2013 sets them up rather well for a battle against the Eastern Conference leaders, the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are just a point ahead of the Canucks in the overall standings, and a regulation win will see Vancouver leapfrog them and move into 2nd overall, as well as getting them to within one point of the Western Conference leaders, the Winnipeg Jets.

The last time these teams met was in October, as the tail end of a back to back at home for the Canucks. The game was as billed, two of the NHL's top teams in the standings going toe to toe, and it appeared to be headed for a shootout to decide it when a brutal non-call in OT in the Rangers favour directly led to the OT winner from K'Andre Miller.

That game also featured a moment that will live in Canucks history:

The Canucks have gotten a massive contribution from the rest of their Dcore this season compared to the last few, and they'll likely need it again tonight against the Rangers. And as Jeff Paterson wrote over at Canucks Army, the goalies aren't the only ones who could use a rest. Defensive load management should be something this team is engaging in the rest of the way.

This game is another measuring stick for the Canucks, and having acquitted themselves well in a number of these tests so far this season, we're eager to see how they match up in the last opportunity before they meet for a rematch of the 1994 Finals. Can you imagine? Also, skate jersey full time in the playoffs, please, including a white version. Do it already!

LINEUPS

Written in green ooze on the underside of a manhole cover in the Bronx, was this potential lineup for tonight. Rumour has it, you can also find it on nhl dot com...

Canucks projected lineup

Elias Pettersson -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Ilya Mikheyev -- Pius Suter -- Andrei Kuzmenko

Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland

Nils Hoglander -- Nils Aman -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Thatcher Demko

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Noah Juulsen, Mark Friedman, Linus Karlsson

Injured: Phillip Di Giuseppe (lower body), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Blake Wheeler

Artemi Panarin -- Vincent Trocheck -- Alexis Lafreniere

Brennan Othmann -- Nick Bonino -- Jonny Brodzinski

Will Cuylle -- Barclay Goodrow -- Jimmy Vesey

Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox

K'Andre Miller -- Jacob Trouba

Erik Gustafsson -- Braden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Jonathan Quick 

Scratched: Zac Jones

Injured: Kaapo Kakko (lower body), Filip Chytil (upper body), Tyler Pitlick (lower body)

Nikita Zadorov is back in after missing Saturday, but he'll be going into Juulsen's spot to skate with Ian Cole, and the pairing of Myers and Soucy remains for now. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see some shuffling to address the issues a team like the Rangers can give a team, though.

GAME DAY CHATTER

Well, so much for the load management. Shame, because Juulsen's been steadily improving since he came back from the stretch of 11 straight healthy scratches. I mean, there's not a lot to complain about right now, but he's earned his spot.

What a difference a year makes, eh?

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

What am I supposed to do here, not introduce you to a band called NEON CHICKEN? Of course I am, dammit. This Australian one man band released its debut EP last year entitled 'Industrial Slavery' and it's a solid slab of modern thrash with some serious guitar chops. Sure, a lot of these one person projects never add members and play live, but that's no reason to discount them. Silly name aside, this is a promising debut.

Last night, the Canucks delivered a performance the likes of which we haven't seen in at least a decade. An absolutely dominant sixty minute game that showcased the approach that Rick Tocchet wants to see from a nightly basis from his charges, and if this is what we can expect from the Canucks this season, I'm all in, baby!

CANUCKS (5-2-0) vs RANGERS (5-2-0)

7:00 PM PST

SPORTSNET One, CBC, City Tv

It's been a frustrating dozen years since Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. From the loss, to the franchise's steadfast refusal to rebuild despite all indications showing it was direly needed, we've had to suffer through over a decade of bad signings, bad trades, bad coaches and bad efforts. It's taking a while, and it's a little early to declare the dark days are over, but good lord, watching the way the Canucks played last night made me want to run through a brick wall.

To a man, they came out and absolutely dominated a St Louis Blues team that looked quite good against Calgary the night before, and didn't give them a sniff. When St Louis did get chances, they were mostly low risk, and rebounds were cleared efficiently. They played their asses off defensively for their goaltender last night, and that might have been the most inspirational part of all. And let's get this right out of the way, for all his flaws, Tyler Myers had a beast of a game last night, playing 17 minutes of smart, defensively sound hockey, and added a beautiful setup on the Phil DiGiuseppe goal to make it 3-0 in the 2nd period. It rings true to what many have felt about the much maligned Myers: with the right usage and controlled minutes, he could still be a valuable part of this team. He's bought in to that, and it's glorious to see.

And how about the pairing of Mark Friedman and Ian Cole?

This is where you can start to believe that maybe this team has turned the corner. The moves over the past twelve months that Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin have made are having immediate impacts on the ice, and this team is not the Canucks team of the past few years, let alone last year. With the way the Oilers, Flames and Kraken have started the year, if the Canucks can stay healthy and continue to take this approach to each game, we should expect to see them in the postseason come April.

Alas, there's no rest for the wicked, and they're right back at it tonight against a very good New York Rangers team that are also currently riding a 3 game win streak, fresh off a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday evening. The Rangers and Canucks are pretty evenly matched, built the same and play a similar style, so it'll be an interesting contest, seeing if Vancouver can come up with another big effort in their first back to back of the season.

LINEUPS

This potential lineup for tonight's contest was scrawled on the back of a setlist from a house party that DJ Del Zotto played. May have also been nhl dot com, I suppose.

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Kaapo Kakko

Artemi Panarin -- Filip Chytil -- Alexis Lafreniere

Will Cuylle -- Vincent Trochek -- Blake Wheeler

Barclay Goodrow -- Nick Bonino -- Jimmy Vesey

Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox

K'Andre Miller -- Jacob Trouba

Erik Gustafsson -- Braden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Zac Jones, Tyler Pitlick

Injured: None

Canucks projected lineup

Andrei Kuzmenko -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Dakota Joshua -- Pius Suter -- Conor Garland

Anthony Beauvillier -- Sam Lafferty -- Nils Hoglander

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Ian Cole -- Mark Friedman

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Casey DeSmith

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Noah Juulsen, Jack Studnicka

Injured: Teddy Blueger (foot), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion)

Doesn't appear to be any changes for the Canucks tonight apart from the scheduled start for DeSmith, while the Rangers, much like the Blues last night will play their number one keeper as Shesterkin gets the crease for New York.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Storming out of Wilkes-Barre, PA, CRUEL BOMB are a three piece thrash band paying tribute to NYC's finest ANTHRAX and their classic 'Caught In A Mosh'. It's the second single they've released this year after a 5 song EP in 2022 called 'Man Made', so hopefully we can expect a full length from them soon. Crank this one and mosh it up!

Enjoy the game, folks. Go Canucks Go!

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