NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, November 13 (All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (4-8-5) at New York Rangers (7-6-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Colorado Avalanche will try for their second win this month when they continue a road trip by visiting the New York Rangers for Thursday's clash at Madison Square Garden.
Last season's Central Division champions have struggled mightily so far in 2014-15, as the Avalanche are currently sitting tied for last in the Western Conference with just 13 points through 17 games. Colorado also has dropped the first two tests on a four-game road trip and is just 1-4-1 in November.
Patrick Roy's club suffered its most lopsided loss of the season its last time out, losing 6-0 to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Earlier this season, Colorado had its biggest margin of victory against the Isles, posting a 5-0 home win over New York on Oct. 30.
Semyon Varlamov wasn't the problem for Colorado. The goaltender made 40 saves as the Avs were badly outshot in the game by a 46-20 margin.
The game marked the third time Colorado was shut out this season and the first time since getting blanked by Minnesota in two straight outings to begin the season.
"I'll say this: They played really well. I have to give them credit," Roy said of the Islanders. "They were really intense. They were jumping at pucks, putting pucks at the net. It was a game where we were not at our best, without a doubt, and we know we need to be better."
The blowout loss dropped Colorado's road record this season to 1-5-3. The Avs will complete their current swing Saturday against New Jersey.
Varlamov will get the start again for Colorado and he is 3-2-0 with a 3.36 goals against average in five career outings against the Rangers.
Roy also is expected to plug veteran forward Danny Briere back into the lineup on Thursday. The 37-year-old Briere has been a healthy scratch in seven straight games and has two goals and an assist in 10 tilts this season.
While the Avs hope to put a disastrous result in the rearview tonight, the Rangers will try to build off their most impressive win of the season.
The defending Eastern Conference champions slammed visiting Pittsburgh by a 5-0 score on Tuesday, ending the Penguins' winning streak at seven games. It was the first meeting between the Metropolitan Division rivals since New York beat Pittsburgh in seven games during last spring's conference semifinals.
Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis and Kevin Klein all scored during a three- goal first period to help the Blueshirts pound the Pens at MSG.
Rick Nash recorded a goal and two assists and Henrik Lundqvist turned back all 33 shots he faced as the Rangers bounced back strongly from back-to-back defeats over the weekend. New York suffered consecutive losses against Toronto and Edmonton before returning to the win column on Tuesday.
Derick Brassard added a goal and both Derek Stepan and Marc Staal had two assists to help New York deny the Penguins a chance at revenge after Pittsburgh coughed up a 3-1 series lead in the recent playoff meeting.
"We knew that to be able to compete against a team like Pittsburgh, who are on the top of their game, we needed a total team effort and that's what we got tonight," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault.
The victory was New York's second win in its last five home games. The Rangers, who are sporting a 5-3-2 record at MSG, are completing a three-game homestand tonight before visiting the Pens for a rematch on Saturday.
New York expects to have defenseman Dan Boyle in the lineup for the first time since he broke his hand in the season opener versus St. Louis on Oct. 9. The veteran blueliner signed a two-year, $9 million deal to join the Rangers in the offseason.
Colorado has had a great deal of success against the Rangers in recent years, winning four of five and 14 of the last 18 games in this series. New York did post a 5-1 win when the Avs last visited the Big Apple on Feb. 4, but Colorado has still claimed five of the past seven encounters at MSG.
11/13 10:45:08 ET