Colorado flies into the Big Apple after a victory over the Flyers while the Rangers stayed white-hot with another win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Let’s analyze this matchup and find out which side is the sharp side in our NHL picks!
Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Rangers
Wednesday, December 08, 2021 – 07:00 PM EST at Madison Square Garden
Colorado had reeled off six straight wins before losing to the Stars in Dallas last Friday. Since that time, they have alternated wins and losses with their last outing being a 7-5 victory over Philadelphia on Monday night. If that pattern holds, things do not bode well for the Avs tonight.
But no streak stays intact forever and Colorado will be looking to build on the big win that saw them launch 50 shots on net against beleaguered Flyers’ goalie, Martin Jones. After watching Philadelphia draw first blood, the Avalanche offense ignited with Erik Johnson scoring a shorthanded goal to even the game followed by Gabriel Landeskog’s tally less than two minutes later.
But the first-period scoring was far from done as Colorado got consecutive power-play goals by Alex Newhook and Cale Makar. Valeri Nichushkin, Nazem Kadri (power play), and Tyson Jost would round out the scoring with the Avs producing a total of three power-play goals over five man-advantage opportunities.
“I liked our energy level,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “On the offensive side of it, I thought we did some good things.”
Rangers Look to Make it Eight Straight
The Rangers qualify as the hottest team on the ice, having won seven consecutive games and 11 of their last 12 contests. New York has averaged exactly 4.00 goals per game versus allowing an average of 2.09 goals over their 11 wins with the only blemish occurring on November 18th, a 2-1 setback to the Maple Leafs.
The Blueshirts latest clash occurred on Tuesday night as they traveled to the Windy City for the second of a home and home series with the Blackhawks, having beaten Chicago 3-2 on Saturday in New York. The results were what you might expect between one of the league’s best versus one of its worst, as the Rangers dominated from puck drop to the final buzzer with a 6-2 win.
Ironically, the Rangers were down 2-1 after the opening period but after that, it was all New York as they scored all five remaining goals. Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin (power play), Chris Kreider, Kevin Rooney, Barclay Goodrow, and two by Artemi Panarin (including a power-play goal) finished the scoring for the Rangers. But the most daunting moment in the game came via an explosive hit by defenseman Jacob Trouba on an unsuspecting Jujhar Khaira. After a stop in the action, Khaira was carried out on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital where is reported to be responsive.
Even Rangers’ coach, Gerard Gallant, was disturbed by the severity of the hit, “It’s a bad effect. I didn’t feel too good and I know our player didn’t feel too good, either. It’s a part of hockey, it’s a big hit, but I don’t think it helped the game. To see a guy like that, it’s hard to look at.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
This should be a terrific game from start to finish. The Avs have gotten things together after struggling earlier in the season and are currently the highest-scoring team in the league, averaging 4.14 goals per game. However, defensively the Avs have struggled as evidenced by their 27th ranked goals-against average of 3.46.
Conversely, the Rangers are one of the stingiest teams in the league, ranked 4th and boasting a 2.46 goals-against average, while their offense is ranked 14th, scoring 3.04 goals per game. But New York’s defense will be tested tonight as they face the league’s most prolific scoring team coming to town and will have to do it without the services of their No. 1 goalie, Igor Shesterkin, who was placed on IR after getting injured against the Sharks.
That means that Rangers’ backup, Alexandar Georgiev, will continue to tend the twine in Shesterkin’s absence. Georgiev has played only sparingly with Shesterkin dazzling throughout the season. But he has won both starts since assuming the starting role with a 25 save performance in New York’s 3-2 win over the Blackhawks and last night’s 26 save effort in the team’s 6-2 win over Chicago.
As of this writing, we don’t know who will be in the net for the Rangers, but either way, they will be at an enormous disadvantage. If Georgiev does go, it will be a back-to-back start and his third game in five nights for a guy who had only played in four games before Shesterkin went out. Otherwise, a rookie netminder without any NHL experience, Adam Huska, will patrol the crease after getting called up from the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford.
It’s a pick your poison decision for the Rangers and a tough position to be in for a team that could be gassed after flying in from Chicago late last night to play tonight against the most dangerous offense in the league. The NHL odds are daunting but the right side hails from Colorado in this matchup.
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