The New York Rangers got started early against the Stars in Dallas last night, as Mika Zibanejad found another goal to open the scoring. It was his 10th goal in the last five games, which included a 5-goal effort against the Capitals on Thursday night in a 6-5 overtime win. Zibanejad scored 4 in regulation and then he got the game-winner on a pretty play to beat Ilya Samsonov.
Along with a staggering 10 goals in five games, Zibanejad has reached the 40-goal mark in fewer games than any Ranger in team history. It took him just 56 games to reach 40 goals. This is a franchise that dates back to 1926 as an Original Six team. It’s an incredible accomplishment for the former Senator, whose previous career-high in goals was set last season with 30. There’s still about a month left in the regular season, so this has been by far the best campaign of his career.
The departure of Mats Zuccarello has allowed Zibanejad to open up a bit and be the clear leader of the locker room. The progress of Paul Buchnevich can’t be underestimated as well. The chemistry between Zibanejad and Buchnevich has been terrific and should only continue to get better. While Zibanejad scores at a rapid pace, Buchnevich has been producing at a high clip as well, with points in six straight games.
Kaapo Kakko added multiple goals to the board last night, and is going to be another integral player in New York the next several years. Only a 19-year-old, Kakko could be a guy that breaks out next season. If that does happen, then there’s no telling how dangerous the Rangers could be in 2020-21. The most important piece to the puzzle is a guy we haven’t even mentioned yet. Igor Shesterkin between the pipes looks like the next great at Madison Square Garden in the crease and is in the process of receiving the torch from Henrik Lundqvist.
Last night’s win in Dallas was 2 big points when it comes to the wildcard race. They were able to keep pace with the Hurricanes on Tuesday night after a win for them in Detroit. The Rangers remain 3 points behind the Hurricanes for the final wildcard in the Eastern Conference. It’s not going to be an easy assignment for the Rangers, but they have a lot of momentum right now going into Colorado. The Avalanche are licking their wounds after yet another injury to a key player. This time it was Nathan MacKinnon, as he went down with a lower-body injury and didn’t return in a 3-1 loss against the Kings at the Staples Center on Monday. Head below for our free Rangers vs. Avalanche pick.
N.Y. Rangers vs. Colorado Avalanche Betting Odds:
Rangers vs. Avalanche Prediction:
Nathan MacKinnon has not missed a game with the Avalanche this season, but that is likely going to change tonight. It didn’t appear to be a serious injury, so the Avalanche are hoping that he won’t be missing an extended period of time. In any event, all of these injuries are piling up on the Avalanche at the worst possible time.
I suppose if they’re still dealing with this in early April, that’s going to provide a headache for Jared Bednar. Injuries are part of the game, and head coaches need to do their best to figure their lines out without superstars in the lineup. He will have to do that night. Without MacKinnon, the Avalanche are down their leading point getter. It’s not even remotely close, either.
MacKinnon has put up 93 points with 35 goals and 38 assists. The next closest Avalanche in points is Cale Makar with 47 points. And oh yeah, Makar is injured as well, along with Andre Burakovsky who is out with an illness. Burakovsky has accumulated 45 points in 58 games in 2019-20.
Going deeper down the injury list, Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri have also been working to get back on the ice. Kadri might be able to come back in late March, while Rantanen could return in mid-April, which would be during the playoffs. That leaves five out of their top six point getters out tonight. Gabriel Landeskog is the only player out of those six who are currently healthy for the Avalanche.
The Rangers lost Chris Krieder to a foot injury recently, and could be done for the year if the Rangers don’t reach the playoffs. 20-year-old Filip Chytil left early against the Stars last night. However, other than that, the Rangers have been healthy. A healthy Artemi Panarin and Zibanejad provides the Rangers with the two best players on the ice in this game. Landeskog is the only Avalanche who can match their talent.
The Rangers haven’t been intimidated on the road as well. With a win last night in Dallas, the Rangers are 19-12-2 on the road this season. They have scored 3.25 goals per game and allowed 3.09 per game on the road in 2019-20. Given the odds in this game, all of the value seems to be with the Rangers. The Rangers have been fine on a back-to-back with a record of 7-4-0. They have all the momentum, and with all the injuries on the Avalanche, they actually have the better team on the ice tonight. I’d go with the Rangers at a generous price on Wednesday night.