New York Rangers vs. Colorado Avalanche - 2/4/14
Colorado Avalanche (35-14-5) at New York Rangers (30-23-3)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Madison Square Garden)
The Line: New York Rangers -147 / Colorado Avalanche +134 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The New York Rangers head into their final week before the Olympic break playing very good hockey and they continue to improve their status in the Metropolitan Division. Unfortunately the Rangers are also facing a tumultuous situation with their captain Ryan Callahan and his contract negotiations. For an orgaization that is used to throwing money at players it seems strange that they would be willing to ship their heart-and-soul captain out of time but the Rangers aren't fans of the seven year, $42 million contract demands that have been placed upon them here. There's no question that Callahan's value to this hockey club isn't able to be measured in goal and point totals but it's understandable why the organization would be scoffing at near $7 million per year. Now the Rangers have to deal with a very large distraction as they head into Tuesday night's affair with the Colorado Avalanche as they come off three consecutive wins over their biggest rivals. Friday night's meeting with the New York Islanders wasn't the prettiest but the Rangers found a way come through with a strong third period. Mats Zuccarello set up Derick Brassard's game winning goal with a beautiful rush up the ice and pass to Marc Staal who made the feed to Brassard for the goal. The Rangers got another goal from Brad Richards before Ryan McDonagh sealed the 4-1 win with an empty net goal. Henrik Lundqvist continued his strong play and the Rangers can only hope that he takes his game with him to Sochi and then back to New York for the remainder of the season. New York has all the makings of a playoff team and one that can really be dangerous if they get their star goaltender playing the way he's capable of. The Colordao Avalanche look like they should be a playoff team unless they completely collapse after the break but they got a taste of what it could feel like in the post season when they faced the New Jersey Devils in Newark on Monday night. Colorado was frustrated all night long by a stingy Devils defense that did a good job of replicating the type of tight checking hockey the Avalanche can expect to see come playoff time. The Avalanche couldn't generate many quality scoring chances against New Jersey and it's always difficult to face a team like that once during the course of the season when you haven't really seen that style of play much this year. Still it's not secret that these young players for the Avalanche will be lit up with excitement to hit the stage that is Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night with a chance to beat Lundqvist in New York City. These Western Conference clubs don't get many opportunities to come to New York and when they do it always seems like they play up to it. New York has looked really good lately but they've been off for a few days here and haven't been the greatest on home ice this year. There will certainly be more open ice for Colorado in this one than there was in New Jersey on Monday.
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