New York Rangers (31-16-5) at Colorado Avalanche (22-21-11)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 12, 2015, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Colorado Avalanche +109 / New York Rangers -120 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The New York Rangers travel to Colorado on Thursday night looking to get a winning streak going after a successful trip to Toronto on Tuesday night. Cam Talbot picked up his second victory in the last four games since he has stepped in for Henrik Lundqvist who remains sidelined with a vascular injury after taking a puck to the neck. Talbot got the win despite looking shaky at best throughout the game. New York took an early 1-0 lead after Derick Brassard stripped the puck from a Toronto defenseman behind the net and centered out in front to Dan Boyle who buried it for his seventh goal of the season. Midway through the period the Rangers took advantage of some more sloppy defense from the Maple Leafs when Rick Nash found Mats Zuccarello all alone in front of the Toronto net for an easy goal and a 2-0 lead. The Rangers would have three different two-goal leads on the night but couldn’t keep the Maple Leafs from tying things up in the third period. A lot of that had to do with the play of Talbot, who left a lot to be desired between the pipes. Stephane Robidas got the Leafs within 3-2 in the second period with a weak wrist shot from the point that should have been stopped. Morgan Rielly would get a weak one of his own just 20 seconds into the third and Toronto would tie the game on Daniel Winnik’s goal a little over six minutes later. The two teams remained tied in a period that Toronto controlled for the most part after getting dominated by New York during the first two frames. Zuccarello would eventually cash in off another feed from Nash with just under six minutes left in regulation to lift the Rangers to the 5-4 win. Nash finished the game with three assists on the night. Zuccarello’s two goal night gives him 10 for the season.
Things don’t get any easier for a Colorado Avalanche club that has now lost three straight games and can see their playoff chances slipping away. Colorado now sits in last place in the Central Division, six points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the final wild card spot. The good news for the Avalanche is that their competition leaves a lot to be desired as well and there isn’t anyone in the group of Vancouver, Minnesota, Dallas, and Los Angeles that looks like they’re going to ever run away with this thing. After getting shut out in back-to-back games by the Red Wings and Wild the Avalanche finally found some offense in Winnipeg. Tyson Barrie’s sixth goal of the season gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead after one period of play, but everything came crashing down in the middle frame for Colorado. The Jets scored four straight goals in the second period, including two on the power play, to take a 4-1 lead. Matt Duchene’s 14th of the season cut the deficit to 4-2 before the Jets put the game away less than four minutes later. Alex Tanguay added a goal late in this one as the Avalanche fell by a final of 5-3. Colorado will face another stiff test when the Rangers come to town on Thursday night but they’re going to need to find a way to take advantage of Talbot in net.
Talbot is definitely the variable in this one. If Colorado gets to face the goalie who played on Tuesday night in Toronto they should be able to find a way to win this one at home. If Talbot puts forth a solid effort the Rangers should take it.