A year ago, a trip through Western Canada solved the New York Rangers' woes. They're looking for history to repeat itself.
The Rangers attempt to begin this Canadian jaunt with another win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
New York (18-7-3) had dropped eight of 14 games before winning 5-1 at Vancouver (10-11-8) on Dec. 13 last year, following it with victories at Edmonton and Calgary over the next three days. Sweeping the trip through British Columbia and Alberta was part of the Rangers' eight-game winning streak that turned around their season, which ended with a Presidents' Trophy.
Article continues below ...
This four-day trip has the games in the same order, and New York is in a similar position after going 2-4-1 over its last seven games.
The Rangers have a 12-2 scoring edge while winning three straight road games against the Canucks.
“We had success on this same trip last year by coming out early, and I think it really helped,” center Dominic Moore told the team's official website. “It's not easy coming all the way out here and sweeping this trip. We take it as a challenge and we're a team that likes challenges.”
Like last season, the Rangers open this trip coming off a victory. They beat Ottawa 4-1 on Sunday following a pair of 2-1 defeats to the New York Islanders and Colorado, respectively.
“We've been better in many areas, notably with our puck possession and the decisions we've been making with the puck,” said Alain Vigneault, who will coach in his 999th career game. “We're on the right track, I think, and I see a mindset from our group to continue that.”
Derick Brassard has five points in the last four games, matching his total from the previous 12. The center had a season-high two goals Sunday, and he had a pair of assists at Vancouver last season.
He has five assists in the last four meetings.
Henrik Lundqvist has a 0.50 goals-against average while winning his last four starts against the Canucks, posting two shutouts.
Lundqvist has stopped 59 of 61 shots in his last two starts after a three-game stretch in which he had a 4.29 GAA.
“It's about building confidence,” Lundqvist said. “The last few games we've been moving in the right direction. Step by step we are building something and we are coming closer to where we need to be.”
The Canucks are hoping the same applies to them after winning 5-2 over visiting Buffalo on Monday, ending a five-game slide with just their fourth win in 17 tries.
“It's a good feeling for sure coming in here and seeing a lot of smiles on guys that haven't been scoring,” captain Henrik Sedin said. “Hopefully we can build on this one.”
Sedin has 14 points in the past 11 games after scoring against the Sabres. He has only three points in six career home matchups with the Rangers but did score twice in the teams' last meeting, Vancouver's 5-4 shootout win in New York on Feb. 19.
Ryan Miller won that day but is 1-3-0 with a 4.13 GAA in his last five games against the Rangers. He should be back in net after making 32 saves Monday.