WHERE/WHEN

Thursday, December 3, 2015 / Game 26

Madison Square Garden / New York, NY

HIGHLIGHTS

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GAME RUNDOWN

Colorado found a way to hold out another tight one on their road trip, squeezing out a 2-1 victory for the second straight game.

The first period of this one was a bit of a snoozer when it came to shots and scoring, but it was a well played out period of hockey by both sides. Colorado was leading the shot department 2-0 until 8:23 left in the first period, when the Rangers finally recorded their first shot. New York led 4-3 in shots on goal in the opening frame as both goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Anti Raanta were perfect in the limited action they saw. There was one fight early on, as Cody McLeod dropped the gloves with Tanner Glass at 7:46 of the first period.

The scoreless trend would continue halfway through the game, as there were no penalties or goals at the midway point of the second period. A scary moment happened on the backend of the second, when Erik Johnson got clipped in the face by a skate of Rick Nash along the boards. He went immediately to the locker room to get stitched up, but returned shortly afterwards.

On a nice chip pass by Jack Skille, center Chris Wagner scored his third goal as a member of the Avalanche at 13:21 of the second period — defenseman Tyson Barrie got an assist on the goal, feeding the puck quickly out of the Avs’ zone to Skille at center ice, who sent a one-touch pass to the breaking Wagner. Minutes later, Matt Duchene continued his hot play by scoring on a two-on-one play with a far-side wrist shot past the blocker of Antti Raanta. Duchene’s goal was his 14th of the season, assisted by Gabriel Landeskog and Carl Soderberg at 17:37 of the second period. Semyon Varlamov saw a lot more action — 13 shots on goal by the Rangers in the second — and closed out the period with a series of great saves to keep it a 2-0 game.

Two goals would be all the Avalanche needed, as they only yielded one goal to the Rangers — scored by rookie Oscar Lindberg at 19:10 of the third period. Semyon Varlamov stopped 24-of-25 shots on the night, coming up just short of notching a shutout, but picking up the all important victory — his sixth win of the season.

THREE STARS

  1. Semyon Varlamov (25 saves)
  2. Matt Duchene (1 goal, 2 shots)
  3. Chris Wagner (1 goal, 2 shots, 1 hit)

PLAY OF THE GAME

The first goal of the game was scored by Chris Wagner on a quick break into the zone. He got a great chip pass from Jack Skille along the boards in the neutral zone, who received a great outlet pass from Tyson Barrie in the defensive zone:

TURNING POINT

This shot by Duchene was just incredible. Duchene’s 14th of the year gave the Avs the important two-goal lead, and it was the eventual game-winner. He is playing with loads of confidence right now, and it sure is fun to watch him on this ride.

BY THE NUMBERS

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QUOTE OF THE GAME

“We had a strong game. Early in the season, for some reason we were finding ways to lose those games, and right now we are finding ways to win those hockey games. We won 2-1 in New Jersey, and tonight another 2-1 game … I just feel we are managing our game better and better and that pleases me a lot.”

-Head coach Patrick Roy

LASTING IMPACT

Another big win for the Avalanche, bringing their record to 11-14-1 on the season, giving them 23 points, which is five behind the Minnesota Wild who sat at 28 points in the last wild card spot coming into the night. Minnesota, who hosted Toronto on this night, will be the Avs’ opponent for the next two games in a pivotal point on the season.

WHAT’S NEXT

The fourth game of this road trip for the Avalanche takes them to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, December 5th at 6:00 pm MT. This will be the first of a home-and-home series between the Avs and Wild, as they will also meet on Monday, December 7th at Pepsi Center.

Nick Bracken

Covers DU Hockey, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids for BSNDenver. Nick can be followed @nickbracken303 on Twitter. He enjoys watching any live sports on TV and playing hockey and golf in his free-time. Chris Drury is his all-time favorite athlete.