When the Canucks failed to make it past the first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs it was deemed that a coaching change was needed in Vancouver. A few weeks later the New York Rangers were eliminated at the second round of the playoffs and a coaching change was deemed necessary in the Big Apple also. In the Summer the Canucks and Rangers effectively swapped coaches with Alain Vigneault going to New York and John Torterella packing for Vancouver.
While AV will experience playoff hockey with the Rangers this Spring, barring a major collapse in Maple Leafs style, the team he left behind are likely to be on the outside looking in when everything is decided. The Canucks have been abysmal this calendar year, sinking to new lows on an almost weekly basis, 9-1 in Anaheim, the Torterella rage against the Flames debacle, the non performance and annihilation in a must win game in Dallas, the seven goal third period collapse to the Islanders, the Luongo trade and to the ultimate low last Saturday in that a 5-1 home loss against Anaheim was not a surprise and almost expected.
The final nail in the Canucks season may be struck by the man who was deemed surplus to requirements last Spring, the same man who oversaw the best period in their history, two Presidents Trophy’s, a Stanley Cup appearance and 6 North West Division titles, 5 in a row ending last year. Vigneault would be forgiven for cracking a wry smile if that were to happen as it would pile more pressure on his former GM, Mike Gillis, who most Vancouverites blame for the collapse in their teams fortunes.
The two side’s first meeting ended in a 5-2 win for the Rangers at Madison Square Gardens, a repeat result will further propel the Rangers into the playoffs and leave the Canucks with to much to do.
Puck Drop is at 7pm at Rogers Arena with the game broadcast on TSN, RDS2 and MSG.