The New York Rangers are riding pretty high right now. They have won three straight emotional, tough games against rivals. They swept the Stadium Series with dramatic wins against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. They then faced the Islanders again and came away with a hard-fought 4-1 win. But after coming off such great wins, the Rangers have to avoid a letdown against their next opponent, the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche are one of, if not the league’s most improved teams under first-year coach Patrick Roy. They have a young squad and have had excellent goaltending from Semyon Varlamov. The Rangers should remember Varlamov from his time with the Washington Capitals, where he was a real thorn in the Rangers’ side.
That said, the Rangers are arguably the hottest team in the NHL right now. They finished the month of January with a 10-1-1 record and have climbed up to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting at only one point behind the Montreal Canadiens. Their best player, Rick Nash, lit it up in January, scoring 11 goals in the month. The Rangers are playing well, but this is a game they can’t overlook.
The Avalanche are in fifth place in the incredibly hard Western Conference. They play a lot like the Rangers and like to posses the puck and make creative plays. With so much turmoil going on with the Ryan Callahan situation and the Olympics being less than a week away, it is easy to see how the Rangers could have a letdown on Tuesday night. The Rangers need to show some mental toughness and come away with a big victory on Tuesday.