Rangers hit road to take on Avalanche in clash of contenders

NHL: New York Rangers at Colorado Avalanche
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will hit the road for a pair of games after a successful two-game homestand. On Thursday night, they venture into Colorado to play the Avalanche and conclude the month of March by visiting the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

What an incredible season to date for head coach Peter Laviolette, who won his 800th career game on Tuesday. By outlasting the Philadelphia Flyers 6-5 in overtime, the Rangers became the first NHL team to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and reach the 100-point mark.

“I think you really have to stay current with what you’re doing,” Laviolette explained. “Our guys have done a really good job of that. The schedule has been tough, we’re banged up a little bit, it wasn’t our best (against Philadelphia), yet, we still found a way to win.”

The Blueshirts defeated the Flyers despite being without three regular defenseman and one key forward. Center Alexander Wennberg was out due to personal reasons, and could be back against the Avalanche. Meanwhile, defensemen Jacob Trouba (lower body) and Ryan Lindgren (lower body) are back at practice without limitations, and Erik Gustafsson (upper body) remains day to day. If any of them can return on Thursday, it will be a welcome sight, though thew Rangers continue to roll along despite the injuries. They are 8-2-0 since Trouba was sidelined.

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (48-20-4) vs Colorado Avalanche (46-21-5)
Date/Time: March 28, 2024 @ 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Ball Arena
TV: MSG
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Artemi Panarin hits 100 points

New York Rangers projected lineup

artemi panarin
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Wennberg – Kakko
Vesey – Goodrow – Rempe

Jones – Fox
Miller – Schneider
Scanlin – Ruhwedel

Shesterkin
Quick

Update: The New York Rangers will hold a morning skate at 1:30 p.m ET at Ball Arena. Peter Laviolette will address the media afterwards. Check back here for updates.

New York Rangers vs Colorado Avalanche

The Rangers (100 points) lead a hotly contested Presidents’ Trophy race and face the Colorado Avalanche (97 points), who are just three points behind them. Meanwhile, both the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars are a single point behind New York. Dallas faces the Vancouver Canucks (98 points) on Thursday.

In the Metropolitan Division race, the second-place Carolina Hurricanes (97 points) host a desperate Detroit Red Wings club. The Washington Capitals are on a tear and have surpassed the Red Wings for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference by two points.

“With all the work we’ve put in this season,” center Mika Zibanejad told the NY Post. “We’re right there and we want to win the division.”

This season, the Rangers have a solid road record (22-11-4) and have won three of their past four away from the Garden. Additionally, New York is 8-2-0 in their past 10 games and 19-4-1 since Jan. 27. Colorado is 9-1-0 in its past 10.

The Blueshirts lead the regular season-series (1-0-0) after an Alexis Lafreniere OT winner back on February 5 edged the Avalanche 2-1. Thursday will also be the final meeting of the season unless both reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Upcoming Rangers Milestones

  • Chris Kreider is 2 goals away from 300 in his career
  • Vincent Trocheck is 3 goals away from 200 in his career
  • Adam Fox is 2 points away from 300 in his career
  • Jonathan Quick is 1 win away from passing Ryan Miller (391) for most wins by an American-born goalie and sole possession of 15th all-time

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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