RANGERS (10-8-1) AT AVALANCHE (10-7-1)
TV -- MSG PLUS (HD), Altitude (HD)
Last 10 -- New York 6-4-0; Colorado 6-3-1
Season series -- This is the second of two meetings between the clubs. Colorado won the first match with a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 18. Chris Stewart scored two goals, including the game-winner.
Big story -- The Rangers begin a quick two-game trip against a team that beat them in New York last month after dropping a 3-2 decision to Boston at home on Wednesday night. Colorado had the day off Thursday following a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory at home against San Jose. Kevin Porter scored a breakaway goal in overtime to give the Avs their second straight home win.
Team Scope :
Rangers -- Despite falling to the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Wednesday, the Rangers are on an upswing as they look to avenge last month's loss to Colorado. Not only is New York 6-2-0 on the road and 3-1-0 in its last four, but the Rangers outshot visiting Boston 36-20 on Wednesday and had a 34-18 edge in hits. They just couldn't solve Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who made 34 saves.
"We generated a lot of chances and deserved better than we got," said forward Marian Gaborik, who matched Ryan Callahan with a team-high six shots on goal and scored in the third period. "Thomas was good. So we just have to look at the positives."
Avalanche -- Colorado will be trying to complete a sweep of its three-game homestand by beating the Rangers for the second time this season.
The Avs have gotten terrific play from backup goaltender Peter Budaj, who stepped into the No.1 job when Craig Anderson went down with a knee injury in October. Budaj is 5-3-0 with a 2.14 goals-against average in his last eight starts. He was one of the heroes of Wednesday's win, making 40 saves as the Avs were outshot 43-22.
"Sometimes, you're not supposed to win and your goalie makes a lot of saves, you kill a lot of penalties, you forecheck and you get the goal," said Stastny, who scored Wednesday for the third time in four games.
Who's hot -- Ryan Callahan, who tallied the OT game-winner in Pittsburgh on Monday, is second on the Rangers with 16 points in 17 games this season. Gaborik has 4 goals in as many games since returning from a separated shoulder. … Milan Hejduk has 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in his past 18 games and Stewart continues to lead the Avalanche with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists), including 2 goals and 6 points in Colorado's last five games.
Injury report -- The Rangers are still without Chris Drury (finger)Vinny Prospal (knee) andMichal Rozsival (shoulder) and enforcerDerek Boogaard (hand)…Colorado's injury list includesDavid Van Der Gulik (torn ACL), T.J. Galiardi (broken wrist),Craig Anderson (knee),Kyle Quincey (concussion),Kyle Cumiskey (concussion),Peter Mueller (concussion) andDavid Koci (broken jaw). However, the Avs sent goaltender John Grahame back to their Lake Erie farm team in the AHL, meaning that Anderson will likely dress and could play either against the Rangers or at Dallas on Saturday,
Stat pack -- The Rangers are 0-for-4 on 5-on-3 power plays this season. New York rookie Derek Stepan had a hat trick in his NHL debut at Buffalo on Oct. 9 but hasn't scored since then.
Puck drop -- Gaborik, who spent most of his career with Minnesota before coming to New York last season, has 19 career goals against the Avs. It's his highest total against any team except Edmonton (21). Gaborik also has a pair of hat tricks at the Pepsi Center -- one with Minnesota in April 2006 and the other, his first with the Rangers, during a 3-1 win last Jan. 31. That was New York's first victory in Denver since New Year's Eve 1998.