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Avalanche end road trip by facing off with Rangers

by Dave Lozo
AVALANCHE (38-30-5) at RANGERS (44-19-7)


Last 10:
Colorado 6-3-1; New York 5-4-1

Season Series:
This is the first and only meeting between the teams.

Big Story:
The Rangers are struggling to hang onto the top spot in the East. The Avalanche are fighting for the final playoff spot in the West. The Rangers are banged up, having played their previous four games without Michael Del Zotto and three games without Ryan Callahan. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist missed the last two with the flu, but will be ready to go Saturday. For the Avs, they just got back Matt Duchene from an ankle injury and are 5-1-1 in their last seven games.

Team Scope:

Trailing in the final seconds Tuesday, the Avs scored to force overtime against the Buffalo Sabres and eventually won in a shootout. On Wednesday, the Avs put forth another strong effort on the road against a playoff-bound team, but wound up on the short end of a 1-0 shootout loss.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, making his first start since March 3, made 33 saves before succumbing to Martin Brodeur in the shootout.

"Marty played a good game and made some key saves tonight," Giguere said. "I thought we did a good job of putting pucks on net and making it hard on him. It was difficult to play back-to-back games.

"It could have gone either way. It was a good game. Give Marty credit for a good game, but we have no reason to put our heads down."

Playing shorthanded against the hottest team in the NHL, things went pretty much how you'd expect. The Rangers' top line of Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik scored both their goals, but nothing else really went right in a 5-2 loss to the Penguins on Thursday.

"You always have to look at your own game and how you're playing," defenseman Marc Staal said. "I thought certain plays could have had better reads and better decisions. With a skilled team like that, you have to be sharper in your end zone, and we weren't."

Who's Hot:
Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn has 7 goals and 2 assists in 9 games since he was acquired from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline. … Rangers forward Carl Hagelin has 2 goals and 3 assists in his last two games; Brad Richards has a five-game points streak (5 goals, 5 assists). 

Injury Report:
Avalanche forward Chuck Kobasew (back) hasn't played since Feb. 27. … Callahan (foot) and Del Zotto (hip) are day-to-day for the Rangers.

Stat Pack:
The Rangers are 20-1-4 when scoring a power-play goal; 24-18-3 when they don't.

Puck Drop:
"Richie's line played really good tonight. We need to get some other guys going behind it. Brian Boyle's line (with Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko) can't get scored on as much as they are getting scored on. They generate some but they are getting scored on too much." -- Rangers coach John Tortorella, on the team's lack of secondary scoring

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