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New York Rangers @ Colorado Avalanche: Limping Out West

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The banged up Rangers begin a big west coast road trip this afternoon against Nathan MacKinnon and the white-hot Avalanche

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers begin a big west coast swing this afternoon with a stop in Colorado while riding a modest two game winning streak. This small streak is being powered by the newly formed first line of Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, and Pavel Buchnevich. Nash has four goals and five points over the last two games and Buchnevich has three in those couple of games as well with a goal and an assist most recently against the Sabres.

Funny how putting your best players together leads to good things happening.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows for the Rangers though; Kevin Hayes (leg contusion, missing his fourth straight game) and Marc Staal (hip flexor, missing his second straight game) are both on the shelf and, more importantly for the long run,Kevin Shattenkirk will join Chris Kreider in the "Out Indefinitely" club with a torn meniscus that requires surgery. Tony DeAngelo was called up from the AHL to take Shattenkirk's spot on the blue line and looks to get some ample time to prove he belongs in the NHL.

On the other side of the red-line, the Colorado Avalanche are white hot, winners of their last eight games and are being powered by Nathan MacKinnon who, ever since the Matt Duchene trade, has come into his own as one of the best, and most entertaining, players in the NHL putting up 18-24-42 in the 30 games since the trade.

Rangers lines