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Rangers back on the road against Colorado while Nash remains questionable

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs avalanche 2-12

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

It seems like the Rangers (8-2-2) have been playing at Madison Square Garden for the entire season, but they are back on the road again tonight as they take on the struggling Colorado Avalanche (4-8-1) at the Pepsi Center.

New York has played six of their last seven games, and eight of the first 12 games this season, on home ice, where they’ve posted an impressive 6-1-1 record. They’re 2-1-1 away from home, winning the first two road games of the season in Chicago and Columbus, but losing to 3-0 to Montreal and 3-2 in a shootout to Philadelphia after that.

The Rangers have been historically good on the road underneath Alain Vigneault, setting a franchise record with 28 wins last season after posting a 25-14-2 record as the visitors in the 2013-14 season. On top of that, the Avalanche are just 2-4-1 on home ice this season.

The Avs will give starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov the night off and will turn to Reto Barra, who is 1-2-0 in four games this season, boasting a .944 save percentage and a 1.79 GAA. He’s allowed just six goals on 108 shots against, with four of them coming in his last start against Florida.

The 38 year old future hall of famer, Jarome Iginla, is showing no signs of slowing down at his age, currently second on the team in scoring with 11 points (6-5-11) so far. He’s got three power play goals and is a threat whenever he has the puck.

Nathan MacKinnon appeared to hurt his hand at the end of Colorado’s last game, but he’s expected to play tonight. MacKinnon is enjoying a nice bounce-back start to this season after going through the sophomore slump a year ago. The 2013-14 Calder Trophy winner has 14 points (5-9-14) in 13 games.

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start for Rangers tonight, coming off of a fantastic 32 save performance against the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist is 6-2-2 with a 1.88 GAA and a .943 save percentage, one of his best starts to the season in recent memory.

Tonight’s game would give Henrik 742 appearances as a Ranger, tying him with Mike Richter for first in franchise history. 

henrik lundqvist profile 4-4

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Rick Nash still appears to be questionable for tonight’s game after twisting his back in practice yesterday. Nash said there was stiffness and he couldn’t really move his back, so I don’t expect him to play tonight.

Emerson Etem took over his spot in the lineup, playing alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, two of the hottest Rangers at the moment. Brassard has seven points (3-4-7) in his last three games, and Zuccarello has three goals and four points in his last two games.

Emerson Etem has a history of being a goal scorer, hitting 61 goals in one of his junior hockey seasons. He’s also been a successful AHL player, tallying a point per game in his last 70+ AHL games. Etem will be off the bottom line and into a top six role, so this is his best chance to prove himself.

emerson etem full body 10-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

JT Miller is also getting another shot at a top six role, playing alongside Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan on the second line. Kreider and Stepan have really been struggling, so hopefully switching things up will allow Miller to spark this line’s offense.

The last time that Kevin Hayes played in Colorado, this happened.

The third line has been absolutely superb so far, with Kevin Hayes playing much better now that he’s back at center. Oscar Lindberg is on one of his wings, providing the goal scoring so far, and Viktor Stalberg is on the other wing, creating pressure on the forecheck and using his speed well. This line will be the most crucial tonight.

The Rangers and the Avalanche will face off at the Pepsi Center at 9 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG 2.

EXPECTED LINES

Emerson Etem-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Krieder-Derek Stepan-JT Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Jarret Stoll-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Keith Yandle-Dan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on November 6, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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