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Tortorella returns to NY as Canucks visit Vigneault's Rangers

(SportsNetwork.com) - A highly anticipated battle between teams that swapped head coaches during the offseason is on tap Saturday, as John Tortorella and the Vancouver Canucks visit Alain Vigneault's New York Rangers for a clash at Madison Square Garden.

One of the most intriguing storylines of the offseason began with Tortorella and Vigneault being fired last May by the Rangers and Canucks, respectively. Before the end of June both coaches landed on their feet by taking each other's former job, with Vigneault landing in the Big Apple and Tortorella moving from the East Coast to the West to lead the Canucks.

Tortorella is the one making a homecoming on Saturday, as he returns to New York for the first time since being fired. He led the Rangers to the playoffs in four of five seasons, but was only able to get the club past the second round once, when the Blueshirts lost to New Jersey in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

"Quite honestly, we've beaten this thing up. We're going there (and) it's another game on the schedule. It's a very important game for us to try and gain some traction," said Tortorella.

"We're going in there to coach, be with the team, try to win a hockey team and get the hell out of there."

Vigneault, who will have to wait until April 1 for his return to Vancouver, led the Canucks to 30-or-more wins in six straight seasons before the lockout- shortened campaign helped ended that streak. He also got Vancouver to within one win of the franchise's first Stanley Cup title in the spring of 2011, only to lose a home Game 7 to the Bruins.

Vigneault was fired after the Canucks lost for the second straight time in the opening round during last spring's playoffs.

Under Tortorella this season, the Canucks are off to a 13-9-5 start, while the Rangers are 13-13-0 with Vigneault behind the bench.

The Canucks enter today's tilt in New York coming off a win, but Thursday's 5-2 rout in Ottawa was just the second victory in nine outings for Tortorella's club.

Daniel Sedin's 300th career NHL goal highlighted a second-period barrage on Thursday. The Canucks had found scoring to be a difficult task of late, but they pumped home four in the second against the Senators, including three in a 3:35 span.

Sedin, David Booth, Jason Garrison and Mike Santorelli each had a goal and one assist for Vancouver, which had totaled two goals or less in seven of its previous eight games. Not surprisingly, the Canucks posted only one win during that stretch.

"We wanted to create more offense and we did," Garrison said. "It was nice to get one. We responded in the second after a poor start."

Roberto Luongo made 37 saves in Vancouver's sixth straight win over the Senators. Luongo is 7-11-1 with a tie and a 2.73 goals against average in 21 career outings against the Rangers.

New York has taken the last two encounters in this series, but the Blueshirts and Canucks haven't faced each other since Oct. 18, 2011, when Tortorella led the Rangers to a 4-0 victory in Vancouver.

Despite losing the two most recent matchups, however, the Canucks have still claimed nine of the past 12 meetings in this series. Vancouver also has won four of six and six of the last nine encounters in NYC.

Vigneault and the Rangers will try to rebound from their second loss in three games when they take the ice today. The Blueshirts visited Boston on Friday afternoon and were handed a 3-2 regulation loss despite carrying a 2-1 edge into the third period.

Boston's Patrice Bergeron tied the game at 2-2 when he scored just 1:35 into the third period and Zdeno Chara provided the winning tally for the hosts with 8:55 remaining in regulation.

Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash scored for the Rangers, who had won three of four heading into Friday. Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 25 shots in defeat.

"We got exactly what we deserved today because we gave a "B" effort," said Vigneault.

Beginning with Saturday's test, the Rangers are playing two straight and 11 of their next 12 games on home ice. New York is 4-5-0 as the host this season and 9-8-0 on the road.

11/30 07:26:47 ET

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Schedule

Saturday, April 19Full Scoreboard
Chicago 4/19 3:00 PM ET
St. Louis @theRink | TV: NBC, CBC, RDS
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. St. Louis leads series, 1-0.
Columbus 4/19 7:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, RDS
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Pittsburgh leads series, 1-0.
Minnesota 4/19 9:30 PM ET
Colorado NBCSN, TSN, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Colorado leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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