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Rangers Vs. Avalanche: Rick Nash Hurts His Back, Etem Would Go If Needed

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The Rangers might be without Nash for their game against the Avalanche tonight.

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Yesterday New York Rangers star forward Rick Nash tweaked his back in practice and has been listed as day-to-day per Alain Vigneault. From Andrew Gross:

As you see above, in the event Nash can't go Emerson Etem will take his place -- which means Victor Stalberg is slated to keep his spot in the lineup. This injury apparently happened to Nash a year or two ago and he missed three games, so this is nothing major so long as he doesn't rush back.

This actually might be a good chance -- if Nash can't play -- for Vigneault to tinker with his top six a little. I wouldn't be completely opposed to Vigneault moving one of J.T. Miller, Oscar Lindberg Emerson Etem or even Kevin Hayes to the top line to help replace Nash.

Personally, I wouldn't move Hayes or Lindberg (that line has been too good), but I would think about Etem getting a look up there to see what he can do with the big minutes. It might be a shot for both Vigneault to see how he adjusts to crunch time and for Etem to show what he can do with a more offensive role. Might work out for everyone.

The Rangers are coming off a disaster of a game (that they somehow won!) against the Capitals. The Avalanche are easily the worst possession team in the league, and thanks to a coach who doesn't care about metrics that doesn't seem likely to change. The Rangers really do need to take this opportunity to get themselves back on track.

That also means this is a trap game. Actually, if you looked up trap game in the dictionary you'd probably see this matchup next to it. The Avalanche are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes last night and are also looking to turn around a bad start to the year. The Rangers need to make sure they're not the team to kick that off.

Nash or not.