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Game Preview: Avalanche kiss 2016 goodbye against Rangers

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Another game, huh? Cool.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

There are many reasons 2016 has been the worst year in recent memory and one of those reasons has been the absolutely putrid play of the Colorado Avalanche—both down the stretch last season and most of the past two months. At long last, they can kiss it goodbye. Banish this nonsense to hades where it belongs.

But first they have to play the New York Rangers, one of the NHL’s best teams, with a record of 25-12-1 (hey, they don’t win in OT either!). Leading the way for the club are a quartet of forwards—Derek Stepan, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider—with 26–28 points each. You may have noticed not one of these guys is named perennial goal scorer Rick Nash, who is chipping in by doing what he does best: scoring goals. Nash has 13 on the year, which is second on the team behind Michael Grabner’s 14.

When asked for comment about the Rangers’ scoring depth, the Colorado Avalanche replied earnestly, “What’s scoring depth?”

Also near the top of the New York’s scoring list is former friend Nick Holden, who has seven goals and 13 assists in 38 games this year. Sounds kind of like the 2013-14 version of Nick Holden with the passable defense we saw last season.

The Avalanche, fresh off a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday, will throw out another top-heavy line-up that’s bound to get eaten alive by another team that can roll out a competent bottom-six—with a couple of lineup tweaks, of course. Because why would you ever play two games in a row with consistent lines and pairings?

Is it hopeless? Probably. But tune in 6:00 PM mountain standard time, on all the usual outlets, to find out for yourself.

Lineups

Landeskog—MacKinnon—Rantanen
Duchene—Soderberg—Iginla
Comeau—Grigorenko—Bourque
McLeod—Colborne—Martinsen

Zadorov—Tyutin
Wiercioch—Barrie
Beauchemin—Goloubef

(Or whatever.)

Calvin Pickard
Jeremy Smith