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game recap

Duchene has two points to help Avalanche past Rangers

Center, subject of trade rumors, has goal, assist in season opener

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist, and Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves to help the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-2 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

It was Varlamov's first win since Dec. 11. He had season-ending hip surgery Jan. 26.

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Rangers highlights]

 

"I felt good out there," Varlamov said. "I felt confident out there. You have to stay focused all 60 minutes, the whole game because when you play against the Rangers, you never know. They have a very good offense."

Varlamov didn't allow a goal on 25 shots after the first period.

"Varly was outstanding," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "We don't want to get into a game where we are relying on him like that every night, but we are going to need him on some nights."

Defenseman Tyson Barrie beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle with 2:10 left in the second period to put Colorado ahead 3-2. Forward Alexander Kerfoot, who was making his NHL debut, got his first point with an assist.

Video: COL@NYR: Barrie beats Lundqvist with heavy slap shot

"That was a sweet dish," Barrie said of Kerfoot's pass. "His patience, it's fun to watch. I just came in late and didn't even really call for it, he just put it on my tape and I fired it as quick as I could."

Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had one assist and was minus-3 in 23:48 in his Rangers debut. He signed a four-year, $26.6 million contract as an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I think the result still stings right now," Shattenkirk said. "When I look back on it a long time from now, it will obviously be a great moment for me. It's still a special night in my career. But right now I think I am just a little upset with the result and some plays out there that I felt like I could have had a better effect on the game and helped our team out a little bit more."

Duchene, the subject of trade rumors since last season, scored at 5:29 of the first period off a pass from Patrik Nemeth to put the Avalanche ahead 1-0. He did not comment after the game.

Video: COL@NYR: Duchene pots the rebound to open the scoring

Mikko Rantanen scored a power-play goal at 10:53 of the first to make it 2-0, but the Rangers tied the game before the period ended.

"We're a young team and we're going to make some mistakes, but when [Varlamov] is on, it's crazy," Barrie said.

Mika Zibanejad scored two power-play goals late in the first for the Rangers. He made it 2-1 at 17:28 after Varlamov made a point-blank save on Pavel Buchnevich but failed to cover the rebound, which eventually found its way to Shattenkirk for a pass to Zibanejad.

Zibanejad scored his second of the game with two seconds left with a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Mats Zuccarello to tie it 2-2.

"It's a cliche, but it's a long season," Zibanejad said. "We did some good things out there today. I think we have some games coming up now in very few days and we can't dwell on it too much. We've got to take the good things here, practice tomorrow to work on some stuff and just regroup as a team. We can't beat ourselves down too much after one game."

Video: COL@NYR: Zibanejad nets consecutive power-play goals

New York forward Michael Grabner hit the post with 8:24 remaining in the third.

Gabriel Landeskog scored into an empty net with 2.6 seconds left to make it 4-2.

Lundqvist made 22 saves.

 

Goal of the game

Nathan MacKinnon passed the puck between Rangers defensemen Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith into the right circle for a Rantanen one-timer past Lundqvist.

Video: COL@NYR: Rantanen one-times a power-play goal

 

Save of the game

Varlamov denied Zibanejad the hat trick and the tying goal, stopping the Rangers center with his right pad with 4:09 remaining to keep the Avalanche ahead 3-2.

Video: COL@NYR: Varlamov makes a great save on Zibanejad

 

Highlight of the game

With 10:57 left in the second period, Varlamov stopped Rick Nash shorthanded to keep the game tied 2-2.

 

They said it

"Unbelievable experience playing in New York and Madison Square Garden for the first game. On that goal, it was a great play by [Chris] Bigras. He gave the puck to me, drove through the middle and backed their D off and it was a completely open seam I had over there to Tyson." -- Avalanche forward Alexander Kerfoot on his first NHL point

 

"Best player on the ice was their goaltender tonight. He played a great game and had some big saves." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Semyon Varlamov

 

Need to know

The Avalanche are 21-10-7 in season openers in franchise history. The .645 winning percentage ranks second-best in NHL history (Tampa Bay Lightning, .667). ... New York forward Filip Chytil got 7:40 of ice time in his NHL debut. At 18 years, 30 days old, he became the fourth-youngest player in Rangers history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The three youngest were 17 (Harry Lumley, Don Raleigh, 1943; Len Wharton, 1945).

 

What's next

Avalanche: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, ALT, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, MSG, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Varlamov stands tall as Avalanche defeat Rangers, 4-2

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