The Rangers will play three games in five days starting in Colorado. They will attempt to bounce back in the Mile High City after a 7-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins (9:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).
Despite the Rangers getting blown out in their own building, the home team is feeling even worse about their game. The Avalanche are winless in their last six and things are simply not going right for Colorado. Their offense has been held to two goals or fewer in four of six games on their losing streak. But in the other two games when the Avalanche have scored four goals, they allowed more.
At Thursday’s practice, head coach David Quinn said Alexander Georgiev will start the first game of the road trip. Quinn took the blame publicly for Wednesday’s defeat. Quinn said he wished he could go back on his decision to start Lundqvist for a fifth straight game following two intense road games.
“Was a huge mistake on my part,” said Quinn, following Wednesday night’s game.
“It bothers me more that I didn’tpull him earlier. That’s the thing that, looking back, I regret it,” Quinnsaid, after Thursday practice.
“Probably my worst game,” said Lundqvist, who allowed six goals on 18 shots before being pulled.
“In the end, it’s on me I’mplaying,” said Lundqvist. “I appreciate the support (Quinn taking the blame),but it comes down to my execution. You’re not going to feel perfect everynight, you just need to find a way. “
Lundqvist has had a terrific seasonand he was rewarded by being selected to his fifth all-star game prior toWednesday’s game.
Georgiev, who makes his 10thstart this season, will face a tough challenge against one of the NHLs topduos.
Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen have been tearing it up this year. MacKinnon and Rantanen have 60 and 62 points respectively, which is good for fifth and second in the NHL for most points.
With starting goalie Semyon Varlamov not 100% healthy, backup goalie Phillip Grubauer will get the nod. Grubauer was pulled in their last game after allowing four goals on 14 shots.
For Quinn, after facing good friend Mike Sullivan (Penguins head coach) Wednesday night, Friday’s game in Colorado will take him back to where his pro coaching career began. Quinn spent three seasons as the head coach of their AHL affiliate, Lake Erie. He also was an assistant coach for the Avalanche during 2012-2013 shorten season.
“I loved my half a year in Colorado in the strike-shortened season, and I still have a lot of good friends within the organization. So, it’s going to be fun to go back.”
Kevin Hayes is out with an upper-body injury and is currently listed as day-to-day. Filip Chytil will move back to the middle and Jimmy Vesey will return to the lineup. Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Smith remain healthy scratches.
The Blueshirts won the first meeting this season 3-2 in a shootout win at Madison Square Garden. With a win tonight, the Rangers would sweep the season series.
Claesson – Shattenkirk