Tonight the Colorado Avalanche will end a three-game road trip at the famous Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. The Avalanche are coming off a disappointing and frustrating 1-0 loss to Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders just last night. The Rangers are on a three-game losing streak coming into the contest.
The Avalanche played a good game against a solid opponent last night. The Islanders employed a defense-first game plan, and Varlamov was at his best. The Avs may have been shutout, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Captain Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Defenseman Ryan Graves all had a look at a few dangerous scoring chances but failed to capitalize.
A matchup with the Rangers will likely feature a much different feel. The Rangers are a struggling team that has some scoring talent but lacks defensive discipline. The Rangers will also be debuting their rookie goaltender.
Tonight’s game will be 500th of superstar Nathan MacKinnon’s career. That’s quite an achievement for a guy that just turned twenty-four years old last September. Look for MacKinnon to bounce back after being blanked by his former teammate, and don’t be surprised if he has a multi-point night.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Joonas Donskoi
Matt Calvert - Nazem Kadri - Matt Nieto
Andre Burakovsky - J.T. Compher - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - Pierre Edouard Bellemare - Vladislav Kamenev
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Nikita Zadorov
NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers are on a bit of a slide, and despite winning the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes and drafting Kappo Kakko second overall, they find themselves with just nineteen wins in forty-one games. A guy like Ryan Graves really would have come in handy for the Rangers who are now ranked 27th in goals against per games played.
Although the Rangers haven’t yet found success, Artemi Panarin hasn’t skipped a beat since moving to the big apple. He leads his team in both assists and goals, has fifty-five points and three game-winning goals. Kaapo Kakko on the other hand has had a less than ideal rookie season thus far. He’s scored only seven goals in thirty-seven starts.
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Jesper Fast
Brett Howden - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Steven Fogarty - Greg McKegg - Brendan Smith
Brady Skjei - Jacob Trouba
Marc Staal - Anthony DeAngelo
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
Avalanche keeper Philipp Grubauer will start in the second leg of a back to back tonight against the Rangers. This start comes after a solid outing against the NHL’s defending champs last Thursday. With four days off, Grubi should be rested and ready for stout performance.
The Rangers are going to throw their rookie net minder Igor Shesterkin to the wolves tonight against the NHL’s highest-scoring team in the Colorado Avalanche. Igor is the second rookie goalie to debut against the Avalanche this season.