The Rangers will be looking for retribution tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, since the last time these two teams met the Avs came in and defeated the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. Since then, the two clubs have been through similar trends; the Rangers have a 10-8-1 record on the season, while Colorado has a 10-7-1 record. As far as points go, both teams currently have 21. Needless to say, tonight's game should be evenly played based on statistics. '
Rangers Lineup: Frolov - Stepan - Gaborik Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust Avery - Christensen -Boogaard Staal - Girardi Del Zotto - Eminger Sauer - Gilroy Lundqvist Biron
Scratches: Todd White, Michal Rozsival (shoulder strain), Chris Drury (broken finger)
Henrik Lundqvist was not happy with his performance on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins, and basically took responsibility for the loss. While it was not necessarily his fault, there is no doubt he should have stopped Mark Recchi's soft shot in the third period. I fully expect Lundqvist, as a direct result of this, to come out and stand on his head this evening. Hank is not just "satisfied" with losing, he always rebounds after a disappointing game. Derek Stepan will play between Marian Gaborik and Alexander Frolov on the first line in this game. This is his chance to show what he's got and that he deserves to receive more than fourth line minutes.
My prediction? A goal and two assists tonight for the rookie. More on Stepan and his increasing role in this morning's article if you missed it. Brandon Dubinsky has been one of the club's best players this past week, and it would be greatly beneficial to the offense if he can keep his streak going against the Avalanche. It seems like goals are just coming easy to Dubi this year, but you have to remember how hard he works and how much effort he puts into his game. Him and Ryan Callahan both have been great so far this season, and both because of the same reason: hard work. Scouting the Avalanche: The Avalanche are 6-3-1 in their last ten and have won back-to-back games entering this one. Their strongest asset is speed, and if the Rangers want to grab two points in this tilt, they will have to find a way to contain it. They would also be wise to keep an eye on forwards Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk among others. The Avs are very skilled up front and could be a serious contender this season.With Craig Anderson returning from injury tonight, that makes them strong in goal as well.
Projected Goaltender Match-Up: Craig Anderson (COL) vs. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)