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Colorado Starts Road Trip in Big Apple

Avalanche begins four-game trip at New York Rangers

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche faces off against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday in the first of four games the team will play away from Denver this week. Colorado is 3-1-1 through the first five games of the season and is 1-1-0 on the road.

Since 1995-96, the Avalanche is 20-13-1 all-time against the Rangers, which includes an 11-6-1 mark at MSG. The matchup will be the first of two meetings between the teams, as the Rangers will come to Colorado on Jan. 4.

After this outing, the Avs will stick around the tri-state area to play New Jersey before heading to Carolina and Philadelphia.

Last Time Out

Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon scored 11 seconds into Saturday's contest against the Calgary Flames, which was the fastest goal to start a game by an Avalanche player since Antti Laaksonen set the franchise record (eight seconds) in 2006. J.T. Compher also tallied in the first period for the Avalanche, which held the lead until the end of the third period. Markers from Flames forwards Sam Bennet and Elias Lindholm sent the game into overtime, and the Avs ultimately fell 3-2 after Johnny Gaudreau ended the night by scoring on a breakaway. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made a season-high 38 saves.

The Rangers lost 2-1 to the Edmonton Oilers at home on Saturday. Mika Zibanejad scored the first and only goal for the Blueshirts, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid tallied in the first and third periods to win the game for Edmonton. Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 23-of-24 shots in net, and New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves on 27 shots.

Last Time They Met

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Rangers 3-1 when the two teams last met on Jan. 20 at Pepsi Center. The victory marked the ninth straight win for the Avalanche, which went on to post a 10-game win streak. Erik Johnson, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen all notched a goal and an assist in the win, and Mark Barberio added his 10th helper of the year on MacKinnon's tally. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 27-of-28 shots, allowing only one goal by Pavel Buchnevich. Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves on 36 shots.

What To Watch

Varly vs. "The King"

Semyon Varlamov and Henrik Lundqvist are nearly tied for saves made by NHL goaltenders this season. Varlamov has stopped 123 shots while Lundqvist has denied 122, landing them at sixth and seventh in the league, respectively. Both goaltenders are veterans among young teams, as Varlamov, 30, is expected to play in his 404th career contest and the 36-year-old Lundqvist (809 games) is two games away from tying for the eighth-most appearances by a Rangers player (skater or goaltender) in franchise history.

Penalty Killing

The Avalanche is now 22-for-23 on the penalty kill for the season after going 4-for-4 in the previous outing against Calgary. The Avs have a current streak of 16 straight kills and are second in the league with a 95.7-percent success rate on the PK. Colorado is also fifth in the league in road power play, posting a 37.5-percent conversation rate on away ice.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Right Wing Mikko Rantanen

Rantanen extended his assist streak to five games on Saturday after helping with Nathan MacKinnon's tally. He is the first Avalanche player to record at least one assist in each of the team's first five contests to start a season since John-Michael Liles (nine games) in 2010-11. In addition, Rantanen stands first on the team with eight points, having tallied one goal and seven assists.

New York: Center Mika Zibanejad

Zibanejad tallied the first goal of the game in the Rangers most recent outing, notching his second point (one goal, one assist) of the year. In Saturday's game, Zibanejad led all skaters with 11 faceoff wins and had four shots, which was tied a game-high. The 25-year-old also shared the team lead with three hits in 22:00 of ice time.

Details

Tuesday night's matchup between the Avalanche and Rangers is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude TV or streamed with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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