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Avalanche-Rangers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Rangers Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Rangers

A change behind the bench hasn't resulted in an offensive surge for the New York Rangers. It hasn't resulted in any wins, either.

The Rangers will try once again to rediscover their scoring punch and give new coach John Tortorella his first win Saturday night when they face the Colorado Avalanche, which will try to extend its winning streak over New York to eight games.

Tortorella, who took over Monday for the fired Tom Renney, saw his new team give up a late goal and fall 2-1 in a shootout to Toronto on Wednesday. In Tortorella's home debut the next night, the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist permitted goals 60 seconds apart with less than nine minutes remaining en route to a 2-1 loss to Florida.

"As a team," Lundqvist told the Rangers' official Web site, "we have to be perfect now. When you're not scoring, you have to be perfect. It's not only for me, but for the whole team. We feel like every mistake can cost us the game - which it has."

The loss to the Panthers dropped New York to 2-8-4 in its last 14. The Rangers (31-24-8) have scored only 22 goals in that span, and have scored two goals or fewer in all 12 losses.

"You can't hate your guys because they are struggling," Tortorella said. "It's easy to love them when it's going well and then hate them when it's going bad. I am not upset with them. ... We are just struggling to score a goal."

The Rangers have had trouble scoring against Colorado for more than a decade. Since playing to a 2-all tie in January 1997, New York has scored only 10 goals en route to a 0-5-2 record in the series.

Markus Naslund scored his team-high 19th goal against the Panthers. The former Vancouver captain hasn't scored a goal in his last 14 games against Colorado - dating back to Nov. 4, 2006 - but with his next tally will have his 10th straight 20-goal season.

The Rangers, averaging 2.43 goals per game in 2008-09, remain one of four teams without a 20-goal scorer along with Minnesota, Edmonton and the New York Islanders.

New York opened the season with five straight wins, but is now tied with Florida for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 70 points, and the Panthers have a game in hand.

Madison Square Garden will be the fifth stop on a season-long six-game road trip for Colorado. The Avs' swing through the New York metropolitan area began with a 4-0 loss to New Jersey on Thursday.

Colorado recorded 24 shots on goal, but couldn't beat Martin Brodeur in his first game back from biceps surgery and became the four-time Vezina Trophy winner's 99th shutout victim.

It was the Avs' third straight loss and 11th in 16 games - a swoon that has dropped them into last place in the Western Conference with 20 contests remaining. Colorado (28-33-1) has recorded at least 95 points each season since moving from Quebec in 1995.

"Things are not going our way, definitely, pretty much the whole year," said forward Milan Hejduk. "We were eight points out of a playoff spot before tonight and it's an uphill battle and it's frustrating."

Hejduk, who leads the Avalanche with 23 goals, scored twice on Tuesday in Atlanta. He's yet to find the back of the net in seven career games at MSG, though he has three assists there.

Colorado will wrap up its trip on Monday against the New York Islanders, the last-place team in the East.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 28 '09 COL 1 at NYR 6 N. Zherdev
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Smyth63213051-105283
M. Hejduk63232649-81292
W. Wolski62142236-72623
P. Stastny37102232-71862
J. Liles5672229-102540
M. Svatos55131528-53261
J. Leopold6361420-111811
T. Arnason5951419-131421
R. Salei6141418-86210
T. Hensick4441418+11210
C. McLeod6312517-213203
I. Laperriere5571017+111500
C. Stewart389716-144700
D. Jones408513-8811
D. Tucker506612-146111
B. Clark6321012-53201
J. Sakic1521012-6600
C. McCormick3911011+35700
B. Guite32358+31000
A. Foote37156-92601
S. Hannan62055-102200
B. Willsie30134-4800
D. Tjarnqvist31213-1600
P. Dupuis8000-1400
K. Cumiskey6000-2000
C. Durno2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
P. Budaj4416-25-112712063.03.895
A. Raycroft2312-9-0666323.07.896
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
N. Zherdev64173047+52941
S. Gomez59133346-74625
C. Drury64162541-102072
M. Naslund64201939-124570
B. Dubinsky6482331-48826
M. Rozsival6382129-124832
R. Callahan63141024+14120
W. Redden6331821-104520
N. Dawes5210919-21534
P. Mara5851217-18210
D. Girardi6431316-132811
A. Voros538715-912231
L. Korpikoski506713-6801
D. Kalinin5811213-72600
M. Staal642810-35000
P. Prucha28459-21600
B. Betts63538-41200
F. Sjostrom61538-112200
C. Orr64145-1415200
D. Fritsche16134-2200
E. Reitz42112-66500
C. Potter3011-1000
P. Rissmiller2000-2000
A. Anisimov1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
H. Lundqvist5427-20-713315462.50.914
S. Valiquette135-4-1333562.82.907
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