The New York Rangers, who started the season with one victory in their first eight games, suddenly are one of the hottest teams in the league as they prepare to host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday afternoon. The Rangers have won three straight contests and nine of their last 11 after grinding out a 2-1 overtime triumph over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
Henrik Lundqvist continued his strong run with 40 saves in his 11th straight start while Mats Zuccarello scored the overtime winner for New York, which has allowed just four goals in its last four games. The Rangers are getting balanced scoring, with six players recording at least 13 points, and they will need another big effort against surprising Vancouver, which saw its three-game point streak end Friday with a 3-2 loss at New Jersey. Canucks veteran forward Daniel Sedin needs just two points to become the 87th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 and has posted four in his last three contests. “When it happens, it happens,” Sedin told reporters. “With the role I have now with less minutes, you have to be sharp each night. You can’t look at those types of (records), it’ll ruin your game.”
TV: 2 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Vancouver), MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (11-9-3): Brock Boeser had his four-game goal-scoring streak snapped Friday after recording six during the run, but the rookie leads the team with 11 tallies and 22 points. Bo Horvat is tied for second on the club in points (17) with Sven Baertschi, who has collected two goals and two assists in his last four games, while Thomas Vanek (15) is next after posting six points in as many contests. Troy Stretcher (knee) returned to the lineup Friday after missing 14 games and fellow defenseman Chris Tanev (thumb) also was back after sitting out seven matches.
ABOUT THE RANGERS (12-9-2): Lundqvist (11-6-2, .918 save percentage) has not shown any signs of fatigue, allowing two goals over his last three contests - all victories - after stopping 40 shots in a 2-0 loss at Columbus on Nov. 17. “I feel great,” Lundqvist told reporters. “People talk to me about starting a lot of games, but physically, you never really get tired. It’s mentally. Right now, I’m in a nice flow where I don’t overthink things - so I feel rested.” Mika Zibanejad tops the team with 11 goals (three in his last five games) and 22 points - four more than Zuccarello.
1. New York LW Chris Kreider has scored three goals in his last two games and is two shy of 100 in his career.
2. Vancouver D Alex Edler is slated to play in his 700th NHL contest on Sunday.
3. The teams split last season’s two-game series, with the road team winning each contest, while the Canucks are 3-1-1 in the last five meetings.
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Canucks 2