RANGERS (37-28-4) at AVALANCHE (41-20-8)
10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT, MSG+, NHL.TV
Nathan MacKinnon will be out 1-2 weeks with a lower-body injury and will not play when the Colorado Avalanche try to gain in the Central Division race against the New York Rangers at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.
MacKinnon, fifth among NHL scorers with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) in 69 games, was injured in the second period of a 3-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
The Avalanche, 8-2-2 in their past 12 games and 16-5-2 in their past 23, trail the St. Louis Blues by two points for the Central Division lead; the Blues play at the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.
Cale Makar will return for Colorado after missing five games with an upper-body injury sustained in a 3-2 win at the Nashville Predators on Feb. 29. The defenseman is second among NHL rookie scorers with 47 points (12 goals, 35 assists) in 56 games.
The Rangers, 2-4-0 in their past six games following a five-game winning streak, are three points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Players to watch
Rangers center Mika Zibanejad has 12 points (10 goals, two assists) in a five-game point streak and has scored at least one goal in 11 of his past 12 games.
Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz is 7-2-1 with a 2.27 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in his past 10 starts.
They said it
"We're hard to play against when we skate, put pressure on guys in our zone, and anywhere really. We've proved that over the year." -- Rangers center Mika Zibanejad
"Nate's one of the best players in the world right now. Each and every night he makes a huge difference, so it's going to be different not having him, but for us it's next man up; someone has to step up." -- Avalanche center Tyson Jost on the loss of center Nathan MacKinnon
Rangers projected lineup
Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin -- Ryan Strome -- Jesper Fast
Brett Howden -- Greg McKegg -- Julien Gauthier
Brendan Lemieux -- Steven Fogarty -- Kaapo Kakko
Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox
Brendan Smith -- Jacob Trouba
Marc Staal -- Tony DeAngelo
Scratched: Henrik Lundqvist
Injured: Filip Chytil (lower body), Micheal Haley (core muscle), Chris Kreider (fractured foot)
Avalanche projected lineup
Gabriel Landeskog -- J.T. Compher -- Valeri Nichushkin
Vladislav Namestnikov -- Tyson Jost -- Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Martin Kaut
Logan O'Connor -- Vladislav Kamenev -- Mark Barberio
Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar
Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson
Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov
Scratched: Kevin Connauton
Injured: Andre Burakovsky (upper body), Matt Calvert (lower body), Nazem Kadri (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Nathan MacKinnon (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)
Fogarty was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League with Chytil, a forward, out. … Forwards Burakovsky, Calvert, Kadri and Rantanen each participated in the morning skate wearing a non-contact jersey. … Grubauer, a goalie, faced shots before the skate. … The Avalanche recalled Kaut from Colorado of the AHL.
Buchnevich has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in a six-game point streak. … Landeskog has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in his past 12 games and needs two goals for 200 in the NHL.