Rangers Vs. Avalanche: Keys To The Game

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 06: Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers skates during the first period against the New Jersey Devils on March 6, 2012 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers will look to put a little more distance between themselves and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche.

Anyone looking for tickets to tonight's game can find them starting at $55 here. (Just a note here. SB Nation has a partnership with TiqIQ. You can always buy tickets to upcoming Rangers games -- both home and away -- in the "tickets" tab above. We'll be linking to these during every keys to the game from now on in case you're looking for tickets.)

Here is how the Rangers can get tonight's vital two points:

Put The Past In The Past: The Rangers just took a tough loss on the chin against the Penguins, but they need to keep that in the back of their minds. Tonight, the Rangers are going up against a dangerous Avalanche team who are 6-3-1 in their past 10 games. The Rangers can't take them lightly and need to focus on Colorado, not the Penguins who are hurtling towards them in the standings.

Join me after the jump for more.

Get A Quick Start: The Garden crowd is going to be looking for a reason to get excited, something the Rangers can groom if they manage to score first. The Rangers are a very formidable team this season, but every team -- no matter how talented -- isn't as effective when they're playing catchup. It's what the Rangers had to do against the Penguins, and they only brought the game to 3-2 before Pittsburgh blew it open. If the Rangers can get on the board early tonight they can focus on playing their game from start to finish.

Tighten Up The Defense: It remains to be seen -- as of the writing of this article -- if Tim Erixon will, in fact, play tonight. Regardless of whether or not he plays, the Rangers' defense has to tighten up. Period. The defense was atrocious Thursday night, left Martin Biron out to dry multiple times and simply allowed the Penguins' offense to do what it wanted all night. That can't happen tonight. No, the Avalanche don't boast names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang; but they do have names like Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog. The Rangers need to be ready, plain and simple.

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