The Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers are set to face off tonight at Madison Square Garden. This nationally televised contest features a few intriguing storylines, including Alexandar Georgiev starting against the franchise that drafted him back in 2017 and Cale Makar matching up with long-time comparable Adam Fox. These two clubs have not faced each other since December of 2021 in a game that Colorado won by a score of 4-2.
Valeri Nichushkin has been a clear and early standout for the Avalanche, scoring six goals and five assists in six contests. Nuchshkin isn't likely to achieve 82 goals this season but has established quite the head start on his previous career-high twenty-five-goal performance last season. Just how much can we expect from Nichushkin? If he stays healthy and consistently performs this well over time, he could surpass his career-best 52 points before by the new year.
Cale Makar and Adam Fox are two young talented defenders that broke into the big leagues simultaneously and will thus be compared until they hang them up for good. Most would say that Cale Makar has gotten the better of Fox in both individual and team accolades. I'd argue that they are so different stylistically that they shouldn't be compared. No slight to Fox, but Makar has changed how the position is played. Fox excels more traditionally, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Evan Rodrigues — Alex Newhook — Valeri Nichushkin
Andrew Cogliano — J.T. Compher — Logan O'Connor
Dryden Hunt — Mikhail Maltsev — Martin Kaut
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bowen Byram — Josh Manson
Samuel Girard — Erik Johnson
Note: Defender Devon Toews was spotted at the morning skate after making the trip with the team to New York, a good sign that he will play tonight.
Devon Toews is a full participant at morning skate in New York. Seems to suggest that he’s in for tonight’s game against the Rangers #GoAvsGo— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) October 25, 2022
NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers are a team that has lofty goals this season. After ending last season just a couple of wins shy of their own Stanley Cup appearance, the Rangers seem to have reloaded and are ready to make another run.
WHAT A PASS, WHAT A GOAL FOR THE RANGERS pic.twitter.com/KhWM7z8Zl5— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) October 17, 2022
Tonight's battle should prove an early test for the defending champion Colorado Avalanche. New York also has a record of 3-2-1 after six contests this season, but like the Avalanche, they are better than their current record shows. They are solid between the pipes and have a dangerous mix of young and veteran talent. Tonight's
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin — Vincent Trocheck — Alexis Lafreniere
Jimmy Vesey — Barclay Goodrow — Vitali Kravtsov
Sammy Blais — Ryan Carpenter — Ryan Reaves
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller — Jacob Trouba
Zac Jones — Braden Schneider
Alexandar Georgiev will get the start for the Avalanche against his former team tonight. Georgie strikes me as the comparator that gets up for a game like this. Especially considering how things went and ended for him in New York. It's not that he was wronged, but losing a goalie battle can't ever feel good. Both he and Igor Shesterkin had a chance at securing the number-one spot in New York after Henrik Lundqvist left the Big Apple. It was Igor that stole the spot. Alexandar has looked good for the Avalanche and was especially good against the Golden Knights in their last victory. Hopefully, he can build on that.
Igor Shesterkin will be in the net for the Rangers this evening. He is 3-0-1 this season, hoping to improve upon his .901 SV% to start. Shesterkin stood out last season and into the playoffs and, in many minds, challenged Andrei Vasilevsky for best goalie in the league. That was enough to earn him his first Vezina Trophy. Only Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Dominik Hasek have won consecutive Vezina Trophies since 1980. Can Shesterkin be the fourth?