(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers hope to ride their offense to a fifth straight victory when they host the Vancouver Canucks in Thursday's battle at Madison Square garden.
New York scored at least five goals in each tilt during a perfect four-game road trip, notching a total of 22 goals in the process. The most important win on the swing came in Monday's finale when the Rangers rallied for a 6-5 victory over the rival New York Islanders.
The Blueshirts were down 5-3 after Ryan Strome scored for the Isles at the 3:43 mark of the third period before storming back to win in regulation. Derek Stepan answered for the Rangers 6:25 into the third and Martin St. Louis tied the game 97 seconds later, setting the stage for Kevin Klein's game-winning tally with less than five minutes left.
The win moved the Rangers within four points of the Isles for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh is tied with the Blueshirts in second place.
Klein gave the Rangers their only lead of the game with 4:32 to play when Derick Brassard curled over to the left corner and sent the puck back to the right wing. Klein snapped it home for his ninth marker of the season and his fourth of the game-winning variety
"When Derick put it on my tape I was pretty happy and just tried to put a good shot on net," said Klein. "We showed a lot of resilience in this game."
Ryan McDonagh scored twice, Stepan had a goal and two assists, while Chris Kreider and St. Louis each posted a goal and an assist for the Rangers. Cam Talbot stopped 38 shots in the win.
Talbot will make his eighth straight start tonight in place of injured No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who is out with a vascular injury. Talbot has faced the Canucks once in his career, picking up a win with 35 saves on Nov. 30 of last season.
Vancouver has won three of its last four games, but it has not fared well recently against the Rangers, who are led by former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.
New York has won five straight in the series and posted a 5-1 rout in Vancouver on Dec. 13. The Canucks have lost two straight and three of their last five at MSG.
The Canucks are coming off Monday's 3-2 regulation win over visiting Minnesota and hope to build off that victory when they begin a five-game road trip this evening. Vancouver is 16-10-2 as the guest this season, but has lost three of its last four tests away from Rogers Arena.
Alex Biega scored in his first NHL game to helped the Canucks halt Minnesota's point streak at 10 games. Biega was recalled from Utica hours before the opening faceoff, and after toiling for five years in the American Hockey League, the defenseman made it a memorable debut with what proved to be the game-winner.
"It's indescribable, the emotions running through my head right now," Biega said.
Henrik Sedin and Bo Horvat also scored for the Vancouver, which received a 19- save effort from Eddie Lack.
Ryan Miller could be back in net tonight and the Canucks No. 1 netminder owns a 13-8-5 record and 2.45 goals against average in his career against the Rangers. Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins is likely to use both Lack and Miller over the next two days, as the Canucks will continue their swing tomorrow evening in New Jersey.
Vancouver enters tonight with 67 points, one behind Calgary for second place in the Pacific Division. The San Jose Sharks are just one point in back of the Canucks in the division.