Rangers Wrap Up West’s Visits With Avs


Henrik Lundqvist may be searching for his 400th win tonight, but the New York Rangers are, in the big picture aspect, they’ll be looking for their fifth in a row.

They’ll have to avoid a proverbial “trap game”, as the Colorado Avalanche, current cellar dwellers of the NHL’s overall standings, visit Madison Square Garden tonight, wrapping up a four game homestand against Western Conference competition (7:00, MSG).

The Rangers (35-18-1) have improved their record at MSG this season with a trio of wins over Western foes, including Thursday night’s come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Rangers scored two goals in each of the latter frames. Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider, and JT Miller all extended point streaks with goals, Miller earning two of them, and Kreider setting a new career high with his 22nd of the season. Kevin Hayes assisted on three of the four tallies.

Meanwhile, the Avalanche (15-34-2) have gone through a very rough season, though they had two wins in a row before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday by a 4-1 final. Gabriel Landeskog had the lone goal for Colorado. Prior to a 5-2 win over Winnipeg one week ago, the last Avalanche win in regulation had come back on December 11.

This game will wrap up the annual two-game set between the Rangers and Avalanche, the Rangers taking the first matchup 6-2. It was another come-from-behind victory for the Rangers, as Kreider erased a 1-0 Colorado lead before Blake Comeau tied it before the first 20 minutes let out. Kreider would complete the hat trick in the second period, while Miller added two more, and Jimmy Vesey capped off the scoring. Ironically, that game was also a milestone win for Lundqvist, who, with 25 saves, earned his 390th win, passing Dominik Hasek for most all-time by a European-born goaltender. The Rangers have not swept Colorado since the 2009-10 season, when the pair met once.

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