The Avalanche beat Anaheim 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night to improve to 6-0-1-1 in their last eight. Teemu Selanne scored with 1:49 left in the extra period against his former team, and David Aebischer made 24 saves to take over the NHL lead with 10 wins as the Avs kept the pressure on first-place Vancouver in the Northwest Division.
The Canucks, 5-4 winners in overtime over Montreal on Tuesday, stayed two points up on Colorado. But the Avalanche are beginning to look like the dominant team everyone expected when they added Selanne and Paul Kariya to an already powerful lineup during the offseason.
“It’s a great feeling to score against your old team,” said Selanne, who played parts of six seasons (1996-01) with Anaheim.
The Avalanche were without Peter Forsberg and Kariya because of injuries. Forsberg missed his fourth straight game and seventh out of nine with a groin/abdominal injury, while Kariya remained sidelined with a sprained right wrist and couldn’t go against the team he played with for nine seasons.
Both players’ status for Wednesday is uncertain.
Colorado, which opened its homestand last weekend with a 3-0 win over Dallas, hosts Los Angeles on Saturday and Nashville on Monday before beginning a stretch of three of four on the road.
The Rangers will be completing a four-game road trip. New York settled for a 2-2 tie with San Jose on Tuesday night, its second straight draw.
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead into the third period, but couldn’t hold on as Marco Sturm scored a power-play goal with 9:01 left in regulation to give the Sharks their NHL-leading eighth tie.
“We’re doing a good job getting up in these games, but we have to find a way to close them,” Holik said. “We could use Mariano Rivera.”
The Avalanche overcame a 2-0 Rangers lead after two periods on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden and won 3-2 in overtime.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 18): Rangers - 18 points, 3rd place (tied), 7 PB, Atlantic Division. Avalanche - 24 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Mark Messier, 8 goals; Alexei Kovalev, 9 assists; Messier and Kovalev, 11 points; Simon, 77 PIM. Avalanche - Milan Hejduk, 11 goals; Alex Tanguay, 18 assists and 25 points; Jim Cummins, 40 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 18): Rangers - Power play: 10.4 percent (7 for 67), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (79 for 93), 10th. Avalanche - Power play: 25.9 percent (22 for 85), 3rd. Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (65 for 75), 5th.
GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Markkanen (1-2-1, 1 SO, 2.95 GAA), Jason LaBarbera (no appearances); Avalanche - Aebischer (10-3-0, 2, 2.25); Phil Sauve (1-3-1, 2.49).
SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 2; Avalanche 3-2, OT. At New York, Tanguay scored the tying goal in the third period and assisted on Karlis Skrastins’ winner 1:14 into overtime.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 1-4-2-0 on the road; Avalanche - 6-3-1-0 at home.