The Avalanche leave Denver and head to NYC for the first of a four-game road trip out east. It starts in New York tonight, and then ends next Monday in Philadelphia. They won’t play at the Pepsi Center again until the 24th. Like I’ve noted before, there are some teams with some tough road trips to open the season in October. The Avalanche at least won’t have to play on a back-to-back on this trip.
They make a short trip to New Jersey for a meeting with the Devils on Wednesday. That could be a tricky game for the Avs on the road, so they better not overlook the Rangers and give themselves a couple of quick losses in a row. The Avs have wins over the Wild, Flyers, and Sabres to open the season. They have a loss in regulation to the Blue Jackets and a 3-2 loss in overtime to the Flames.
The loss to the Flames was the last time the Avs were on the ice. It wasn’t their best effort of the season, as they allowed 41 shots while getting just 26. The Flames deserved the win and the puck usually bounces in favor of the harder working team in overtime. The Rangers are in for some hurt this season.
Everyone is well aware that this is a rebuilding year for them. Henrik Lundqvist was given the option of a trade last season, but he wants to stick around with the Rangers. He will likely retire in a career that started in 2005 with the Rangers. Lundqvist is expected to start in net tonight, while the Avalanche likely go with the hot Semyon Varlamov. Get our free Avalanche vs. Rangers pick below.
Colorado Avalanche vs. N.Y. Rangers Pick
There aren’t many expectations with the Rangers this season, so they can play loose and free with house money. There are usually huge expectations on the Rangers, with anything less than a strong performance in the playoffs a failure. Fans shouldn’t have high expectations this season. Not to discredit Zuccarello, Zibanejad, and Krieder who are fine enough players, but not the kind to be able to lead this team with a lack of depth behind them.
Behind them is a host of young players like Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich. Their youngsters might develop for future years, but this isn’t like the level of talent the Leafs have with their young guys. It’s been pretty apparent thus far that the Rangers are going to have to fight hard to avoid being a doormat for the rest of the league.
Their lone win this season came in a game they probably got lucky in. They defeated the Sharks by a score of 3-2 in overtime, yet were not the better team in that game. They were outshot by a margin of 43 to 27 and getting outhustled. At the end of the night, the only stat that matters are the goals on the board. It’s not going to be a formula that is going to work often, though.
The Avalanche have scored an average of 3.8 goals per game, while allowing 2.4 goals on defence. Conversely, the Rangers have scored 2.4 per and allowed 3.6 goals for almost complete opposites. Varlamov has been red-hot going into tonight, as he enters with a 1.75 GAA and 0.946 save percentage. Getting outshot by 16 shots isn’t going to work with Varlamov in net. The Avalanche will get tripped up if they take the Rangers lightly, but I think the better talent will win out on Tuesday night at MSG.