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The Vancouver Canucks have lost five of their last seven games.
The New York Rangers are 3-0-1 in their previous four games.
The Rangers were 1-0-1 against the Canucks last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
New York Rangers
20-26-4 (6th in Pacific Division)
28-14-8 (3rd in Metropolitan Division)
Elias Pettersson (59)
Mika Zibanejad (52)
Andrei Kuzmenko (22)
Mika Zibanejad (24)
Quinn Hughes (40)
Artemi Panarin (40)
Quinn Hughes (9)
Adam Fox (24)
Elias Pettersson (3.32)
Shots (Per Game)
Mika Zibanejad (3.64)
The Vancouver Canucks will travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers in the first of two games today. The Canucks are having a tough go of it this season and will not make the Playoffs. They are 14 points out of a Wild Card spot and recently traded away their top goal-scorer, Bo Horvat. On the other side, the Rangers have stepped up their game a little bit and are in third place in the Metropolitan Conference with 62 points. However, they only hold a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals in the first Wild Card spot.
The Canucks are having another subpar season. Their offense was just outside of the top ten before the All-Star break, but since they traded away Bo Horvat, Vancouver will fall closer to the league average. However, their real problems are with their defensemen and goaltenders. The Canucks have the second-worst defense in the NHL and allow nearly four goals a game. Their goaltenders have also been of no help, as they have save percentages well below .900.
The Canucks are led by Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes, and Andrei Kuzmenko. These four are all productive players and have at least 44 points and 22 assists.
Spencer Martin will likely get the start in net for the Canucks. Martin may be the Canucks’ best option, but he would be a backup on most other teams. He comes into this game with an .875 save percentage and 3.94 goals allowed average.
The Rangers are in a significantly better position than the Canucks. New York has a decent offense but an excellent defense. They only allow 2.62 goals per game. The Rangers also have one of the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL in Igor Shesterkin. Skesterkin has been a top ten netminder for multiple years in a row now.
The Rangers are led by Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, and Chris Kreider. These four play different positions and bring different skill sets to the ice, but they will be instrumental in leading the Rangers to the Playoffs.
Igor Shesterkin will start the game for the Rangers. Shesterkin is having an excellent season and has not allowed more than three goals in a game since early January.
I have to play it safe and tell you to bet on the Rangers. The Rangers are not only more well-rounded, but they also have a home-ice advantage. They should have no problem dismantling this struggling Canucks squad. Bet on New York.
The Vancouver Canucks are heavy underdogs but can win if they limit the Rangers' shots and draw penalties.
The Canucks have some of the worst goaltenders in the NHL. It is not a problem because they are not fighting for a Playoff spot, but their goaltenders would be nothing but liabilities if they were. Regardless, they cannot be counted on to perform well against this Rangers squad that averages 3.2 goals per game. The Canucks’ defensemen have to step up and make their goaltenders’ lives easier by limiting the Rangers’ shots.
The Canucks have an average power play unit that converts a little less than 23% of their opportunities. However, this unit needs to take advantage of its opportunities and put a puck in the back of the net this game.
The Rangers are the favorites but can improve their odds if they score the first goal and play tough defense.
The Rangers have home-ice advantage in one of the loudest stadiums in the NHL. However, there are always ways to make your fans louder. The Rangers can do this by scoring the first goal. If they do, the fans will never leave their side.
The Canucks lost a lot when they traded Bo Horvat, but they still have goal scorers in Andrei Kuzmenko, Elias Pettersson, and Andrei Kuzmenko. These players need to be slowed down or the Rangers will be in for a long night.
Andrei Kuzmenko may be a rookie, but he leads the Canucks in goals with 22. He will likely take on a larger role now that Bo Horvat is gone.
Kuzmenko needs to step up and show that he can be the next Bo Horvat for the Canucks. They only have 32 games left this season, so he needs to turn on the jets starting tonight.
Adam Fox continues to be one of the best defensemen in the NHL. He also brings some offense to the table and has 39 assists. Fox will be taking on a Canucks team that knows how to score. He must be aware of this and take control of his defense. If he does, the Rangers will be able to limit Vancouvers’ scoring.
What: Vancouver Canucks vs New York Rangers
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
When: Wednesday, February 8, 8:00 PM EST
How to Watch: NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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