Red-Hot Rangers Host Canucks In Sunday Matinee

The Vancouver Canucks come calling at Madison Square Garden this afternoon for the first of two meetings on the season between the Rangers and Canucks.

The history between these two franchises will be forever marked by the 1994 Stanley Cup Final when the Blueshirts prevailed in Game 7 at The Garden to win hockey’s holy grail. The win ended a 54-year drought on Broadway, while the Canuck’s have yet to hoist the Cup in their 50 years in the NHL.

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The Rangers are coming off a 2-1 overtime win over Detroit in a game that saw goaltending about as good as it gets from Henrik Lundqvist and his opponent Jimmy Howard. Both were called on to be spectacular as a combined total of 72 shots on goal were registered between the two teams. This low scoring affair was an electrifying contest due to the play of Lundqvist and Howard.

“To me, there’s only one thing that makes me laugh a lot and that’s winning. It’s hard for me to enjoy anything away from the rink, at the rink, when we’re not winning.” So said Henrik Lundqvist after the victory over Detroit.

World class players come as a result of a lot of different things, but make no mistake, the absolute need to win in order to validate one’s existence is paramount. You have to win to be a winner, but winners sure do find a way to win. The King is a winner.

It’s Kids Day at The Garden this afternoon and there is no bigger kid on the Rangers then Mats Zuccarello. His brilliantly patient play in overtime against the Red Wings capped another night where he was one of the Blueshirts most dangerous offensive threats.

While there is no question about his on-ice compete level and his will to win, off the ice the guy they call “Zucc” loves to have fun. Whether it is playfully taunting Lundqvist at practice or dancing in the locker room in preparation for the third period in Carolina he does his utmost to keep it kid-fun in the big-boy business of the NHL. Ya gotta love Zucc.

[5 Facts to Know for Rangers-Canucks]


1. 5v5

While playing 5-on-5 the Rangers have scored 43 goals and have given up 43 goals. This marks the first time since opening night that they have been at even when it comes to playing 5-on-5. Most of the game is played at this manpower situation and it is no surprise that the record has been better as the 5-on-5 play has improved.

2. The Sedins

While the tide is turning in Vancouver due largely to the play of younger Canucks like Brock Boeser, Daniel and Henrik Sedin are still very dangerous players. Forcing them to defend will keep them out of the Ranger end of the ice where they are still more than capable of doing damage.

3. Kampfer-Holden

The Rangers blueline has given up just two goals in the two games played without captain Ryan McDonagh. Steve Kampfer and Nick Holden are playing season-high minutes in McDonagh’s absence and will need to be good once again this afternoon.

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