The Colorado Avalanche are on the tail end of their five game road trip to open the month of December. They couldn’t end it in a more competitive spot, in the city that never sleeps to face the New York Rangers.
The last time these two teams met was the last ever “normal” NHL game - that famed March 11th, 2020 day where the Avs found themselves on top in OT 3-2. Things have obviously changed drastically since then, including on the ice for both sides.
The Avs are ready to go home - simply put, this has been a draining road trip. Boasting a 2-1-1 record on the trip, it has been far from pretty and the Avs look to take home a possible seven of 10 points.
This has fallen on defensive struggles on the back end with the loss of Bowen Byram for the trip, along with Cale Makar for a game. The loss of Darcy Kuemper had been a problem as well, with Jonas Johansson having to step up in a big way.
Even 21 year-old rookie Justus Annunen recorded a game and a half of play, including his first career start and win against the Philadelphia Flyers 7-5 on Monday night. The Avs placed Jayson Megna on waivers today with the return of J.T. Compher imminent, but not tonight as Jacob MacDonald slots in for him.
Gabriel Landeskog (92) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Valeri Nichushkin (13) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andre Burakovsky (95)
Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16) - Alex Newhook (18) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Darren Helm (43) - Tyson Jost (17) - Jacob MacDonald (26)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Jack Johnson (3) - Sam Girard (49)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Erik Johnson (6)
New York Rangers
The Rangers are red hot at the moment, Having won eight straight at home in front of their Madison Square Garden crowd. The Rangers are on a seven-game win streak, winning 6-2 last night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
They will be on the second leg of a back-to-back in this case, and if there’s any time for the Avs to capitalize and end their winning streak tonight is the night. The Rangers are without Igor Shesterkin through injury and the Avs will look to put pucks to the net.
Chris Kreider leads the team with 17 goals with plenty of help from Artemi Panarin with 30 assists. The Avs will see a familiar face as well in Ryan Reaves from the playoffs last year against Vegas. Don’t be surprised if MacDermid might throw some fist-a-cuffs with him sometime tonight.
Another big talking point is the battle between two of the best defensemen in the league tonight in Cale Makar and Adam Fox.
Chris Kreider (20) - Mika Zibanejad (93) - Kaapo Kakko (24)
Artemi Panarin (10) - Ryan Strome (16) - Dryden Hunt (29)
Alexis Lafreniere (13) - Filip Chytil (72) - Julien Gauthier (15)
Kevin Rooney (17) - Barclay Goodrow (21) - Ryan Reaves (75)
Ryan Lindgren (55) - Adam Fox (23)
K’Andre Miller (79) - Jacob Trouba (8)
Patrik Nemeth (12) - Nils Lundkvist (27)
With Annunen being sent back down to the Colorado Eagles after his services the past few games, it means that Kuemper is returning healthy once again tonight. For the Rangers, it will be Adam Huska after Alexandar Georgiev played last night.