Posted 2018-01-20 5:45 AM (#693650) Subject: Game 47: New York Rangers @ Colorado Avalanche 1/20/18 - 3:00pm - MSG
Rangers (24-17-5, 53 pts) at Avalanche (25-16-3, 53 pts) 3 pm; Pepsi Center, Denver MSG Network; ESPN 98.7 FM
The Rangers embark on their longest road trip of the season beginning with a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Avalanche in Colorado.
The Blueshirts picked up back-to-back victories at The Garden before heading west, most recently a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night. Rick Nash led the way with two goals and an assist to give him four tallies in his last two games. Pavel Buchnevich chipped in with the game-winning goal and another assist.
Friday was a busy one for the Rangers, who lost Kevin Shattenkirk indefinitely as the blueliner will undergo surgery on Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. New York recalled Tony DeAngeloand forward Dan Catenacci from Hartford (AHL) for the trip as both Marc Staal and Kevin Hayes also remain out with injuries. Coach Alain Vigneault said both were 50/50 to play on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Henrik Lundqvist started both games at The Garden this week, and with the back-to-backs this weekend, it wouldn't be a surprise to see backup Ondrej Pavelec in goal, possibly as early as Saturday in Colorado.
The Avalanche took the first and only meeting between the two teams back on opening night, and have since been one of the surprise teams of the season. After finishing last in the NHL a year ago, Colorado finds itself holding the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
A big reason for the team's success has been Nathan MacKinnon, who is in the MVP discussion with 22 goals and 57 points through 44 games. Twenty-one-year-old Mikko Rantanen is having a strong season as well with 44 points in 44 games, followed by captain Gabriel Landeskog with 34.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernie has been holding down the fort in Semyon Varlamov's absence. The netminder is undefeated in five starts since Varlamov went down earlier this month with a lower body injury, and has made 30 or more saves in four of those games, including a 45-save performance Thursday against San Jose. Overall he's 12-7-1 on the year.
Players to Watch
DeAngelo will get another crack at sticking with the Rangers after appearing in eight games earlier this year before he was assigned to Hartford. Vigneault said the report was he's been playing his best hockey since he joined the Wolf Pack and has excelled on the power play. DeAngelo practiced on the second unit on Thursday.
MacKinnon has been one of the best forwards in the NHL all year, but especially so at home at the Pepsi Center. The 22-year-old former first overall pick has 17 of his 22 goals and home, and 44 points in 25 games in Denver. His 57 points overall are his highest since his rookie campaign when he notched 63, but did so in 82 games, giving him 38 games to go to set a new high-water mark.