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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME FIFTY-FOUR: Canucks @ Rangers- Feb 27, 2022

The Canucks begin a crucial four games in seven nights road trip, starting with the team that would very much like a do-over on JT Miller, the New York Rangers.

New York Rangers v Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (25-22-6) vs NEW YORK RANGERS (33-13-5)

MADISON SQUARE GARDENS, NEW YORK, NY

4:30PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: BROADWAY BLUESHIRTS

Another day, another one of the league’s best for the Canucks to pick off as they continue their improbable march towards a playoff spot. A four game Eastern road swing that begins against a team very much tied to a lot of chatter about the Canucks right now: the New York Rangers.

As one of the best in the East this season, the Rangers are definitely looking to bolster their offence heading into the playoffs, and they’ve targeted a very familiar face as the guy who could fill that need in JT Miller. Originally drafted by New York 15th overall in 2011, Miller played parts of five seasons for the Rangers, before getting traded to Tampa Bay in 2018 as part of a five player deal. After two straight seasons of scoring 22 goals, Miller’s goal total dropped, and the Lightning dealt Miller to the Canucks during the 2019 Entry Draft for Marek Mazanec and a couple draft picks. Miller went on to have his best season as a pro for the Canucks, and after a slight dip last season has been Vancouver’s most consistent forward this season, and is on pace to break his personal best for goals and points again this season.

He’s done nothing but score huge goals all season, and it’s clear the Rangers see Miller as the one who got away. The problem, is that with every big Miller performance, and every Canucks win, the price that the Canucks could demand for Miller, as well as the unlikeliness of needing to trade him because they could actually end up in the playoffs grows. Will it cause them to look at another Canuck, or even at other options because they seem to want to lowball the Canucks on what’s been rumored out there as their offer? Time will tell, I suppose.

The last time these teams met was at the beginning of November, and the big story was... JT Miller. Down 2-0 after two periods, Miller scored early in the third to start the comeback then got the OT dagger to give the Canucks a 3-2 win at Rogers Arena.

The Rangers have been rolling this year thanks to the goaltending of Igor Shesterkin and a high-powered offence featuring 34 goal scorer Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and their defensive dynamo, Adam Fox.

LINEUPS

Courtesy of nhl.com, here’s tonight’s disasterpiece ensemble:

Canucks projected lineup

Tanner PearsonJ.T. MillerConor Garland

Vasily PodkolzinBo HorvatBrock Boeser

Nils HoglanderElias PetterssonAlex Chiasson

Tyler MotteJuho LammikkoMatthew Highmore

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Quinn HughesLuke Schenn

Brad HuntTravis Hamonic

Thatcher Demko

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Madison Bowey, Phillip Di Giuseppe

Injured: Jason Dickinson (lower body), Kyle Burroughs (upper body), Tucker Poolman (headaches)

Rangers projected lineup

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadAlexis Lafreniere

Artemi PanarinRyan StromeDryden Hunt

Morgan BarronGreg McKeggJulien Gauthier

Barclay GoodrowKevin RooneyRyan Reaves

Ryan LindgrenAdam Fox

K’Andre MillerJacob Trouba

Zac JonesBraden Schneider

Alexandar Georgiev

Igor Shesterkin

Scratched: Libor Hajek, Patrik Nemeth, Filip Chytil

Injured: Kaapo Kakko (upper body)

Alex Chiasson will draw in to replace Jason Dickinson, who was injured in that 7-1 stomping of the Flames on Thursday. With Igor Shesterkin getting the nod in last night’s 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers will go with Alexandar Georgiev tonight, a much better option as far as the Canucks are concerned. Thatcher Demko will start tonight, while Jaroslav Halak will go tomorrow in New Jersey.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

A new video dropped Friday for ALLEGAEON’s ‘Vermin’ as the new album ‘Damnum’ hit stores. Blending their technical death metal with a surprising melodic twist should see this band move into the same conversation with some of metal’s current heavy hitters. Check this one out on Metal Blade Records.

Enjoy the game, everyone. Go Canucks Go. Pray for peace.