The Avalanche have now pushed the winning streak to their longest in over a decade and have turned themselves into the hottest team in the NHL having won 13 of their last 17 games. The turn around for this team has been incredible and we approach the All-Star break, the Avs are a legitimate playoff threat - something no one would have imagined when the season started.
Like the Avalanche, the Rangers are battling for wildcard position, so two points today will be huge for either team.
Both of these teams sport a penalty kill that sits in the top-5 of the league, so relying on the powerplay to carry the load offensively will be hard to do.
A win will give the Avs a season sweep against the Rangers, but more importantly, it will put them within one point of the Dallas Stars for the first Wildcard position - with two games in hand.
Just when you think Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen can’t get any more impressive, they come out and give us a performance like they did Thursday night against the Sharks. Not only did they each have three points, but along with Gabriel Landeskog, the team’s top line was on the ice for a defensive faceoff protecting a one-goal lead with less than two minutes to go in the game.
They’ve become one of the top-3 lines in the NHL and will be looking to keep it going against the Rangers.
Tyson Barrie has been skating with the team but still isn’t ready to return from a broken arm suffered a few weeks ago.
Since it’s an early game, we won’t get a game-day skate today, so we won’t know about Tyson Jost until game time, but it’s highly unlikely that he plays.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan Mackinnon- Mikko Rantanen
Dominic Toninato - Alexander Kerfoot - Nail Yakupov
Matthew Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Colin Wilson - J.T Compher - Gabriel Bourque
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Patrik Nemeth - Mark Barberio
Samuel Girard - Anton Lindholm
New York Rangers
The Rangers come to town looking to avenge their loss to the Avalanche on opening night. They come to town having won two games in a row but with a far less than impressive 7-9-2 record on the road this season.
This is a team that scores by committee. Mats Zuccarello leads the team with 32 points but the Rangers have ten players with at least 20 points so far this season.
The Rangers have the 5th best penalty kill in the NHL, so PP goals likely won’t come as easily for the Avs today as they have been recently.
Bad news came yesterday as the Rangers announced that former Av Kevin Shattenkirk had suffered a torn meniscus and will be out of the lineup indefinitely. Known trashbag Anthony DeAngelo has been called up from the AHL to take his place.
Rick Nash - Mika Zibanejad - PAvel Buchnevich
Mats Zuccarello - J.T. Miller - Vinni Lettieri
Jimmy Vesey - David Desharnais - Paul Carey
Michael Grabner - Peter Holland - Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh - Nick Holden
Brady Skjei - Anthony DeAngelo
Brendan Smith - Steve Kampfer
The Avalanche are feeling the Bern these days, and they’ll continue to ride the hot hand as Jonathan Bernier will make his eighth straight start. After making 45 saves in the win over the Sharks, Johnny Berns is up to 12-7-1 on the season with a .917 sv%.
The Avs will have their work cut out for them as one of the best of all time will be in net for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist may be in the late stages of his Hall of Fame career, but that isn’t stopping him from remaining one of the best in the NHL. Lundqvist has a 21-11-4 record while putting up a .924 sv%.
How to Watch/Listen
The game will be broadcast on Altitude Sports as well as MSG at 1pm MST, 3pm EST.
For those who prefer the radio experience, as always, the game can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio 950.