New York Rangers Game Thread: 2/12, Rangers at Avalanche

The Rangers head to Colorado hoping to play a whole heck of a lot better than they did in Toronto and pick up another road win in the process.

Game Fifty-Three, the New York Rangers at the Colorado Avalanche
Record: 31-16-5

Rangers vs Avalanche coverage | Mile High Hockey

The Road Trip

The Rangers won one of their ugliest games in recent memory on Tuesday night in Toronto. Still, two points is two points and the Rangers will be heading into the second game of their road trip with a red hot Rick Nash and a swaggerful (yep, just made that up) Mats Zuccarello having big games in the filthy win. It was great to see the Rangers' offense shell the Leafs (a lot of guys needed that confidence), but having Cam Talbot give up 4 goals to Morgan Reilly Toronto was pretty damn rough. What is it about Toronto that the Rangers just can't figure out?

The Avalanche, despite being a grossly underachieving team, have far more dangerous players throughout their lineup than the Leafs do, and you can be sure that if the Rangers make mistakes with the puck and allow players to attack the net uncontested the Avs will make them pay. Erik Johnson is out of the picture for tonight's game for Colorado which is a devastating blow to an already shaky defensive corps that is among the worst in the league in preventing goals.

It's hard to say how tonight's game will go after the effort we saw on Tuesday night from the Blueshirts, but if they keep things simple and seriously reduce the amount of turnovers and mistakes they have been making they should be just fine. Colorado struggles to keep pucks out of their own net and their offense has been inconsistent and largely anemic this season. However, giving players like Jarome Iginla, Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog time and space or free chances at the net from high scoring areas will result in goals just like it would against teams like the Penguins or the Blackhawks. Tonight's game will come down to responsibility, discipline, and playing a smart road game against a desperate team that is searching for answers and would love to find some confidence against last season's Eastern Conference Champions.

The New York Rangers' February Schedule

2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM (win.)
2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM (loss.)
2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM (overtime loss.)
2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:30 PM (I guess it was a win)
2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM

Mike's Player to Watch: Martin St. Louis

I'm going with Marty until he gets out of his funk because he's too damn good to be staying off the score sheet. He admitted in an interview that he hasn't been getting as many chances as he should be getting and that right now, the puck is simply not doing what he needs it to do. Sounds to me like St. Louis has to start changing things up and taking different looks at the net and, perhaps, just shooting everything and anything he can until something beats a goalie. I'm not sure what to think of this scoring slump right now, but I do know that which each passing game there are more and more Rangers' fans who question his value and role to the team... which is absolutely silly. Hopefully tonight is the night that Marty St. Louis can break out. I like his chances against Colorado's awful defense. The Rangers need him to be Martin St. Louis for the mad dash to the playoffs in a big, bad way. Let's go Marty, we need you to get into it.

Let's go Rangers! Drop the puck.