Avalanche-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Rangers play three games in four nights before heading into the Olympic break, and they're hoping three days off gave them the proper rest heading into that stretch.

New York may be able to take advantage of a Colorado Avalanche team concluding a back-to-back set as the streaking squads meet Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

After beating New Jersey and the New York Islanders in consecutive games at Yankee Stadium, the Rangers (30-23-3) scored three times in the third period Friday to beat the Islanders 4-1 at MSG.

"Mentally we're going to have to bear down, take it as a challenge because in the month of January we were one of the hottest teams in the league," Brad Richards, who ended a five-game goal drought, told the team's official website. "There is responsibility that comes with that success."

The Rangers host Edmonton on Thursday and visit Pittsburgh prior to the Olympics, though they've found the time off to be beneficial. They also haven't played outside of New York since playing at Ottawa on Jan. 18.

"We have to make sure that we are all focused in on the three games in four nights, the three games before the Olympic break," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We have to make sure we continue to play the good hockey we have been. I am expecting our veteran guys and core guys to make sure everybody understands what we need to do here."

Colorado comes into this contest not as rested as New York but just as hot. The Avalanche (36-14-5) won their fourth straight after Ryan O'Reilly scored a power-play goal 28 seconds into overtime to beat New Jersey 2-1 on Monday.

Coach Patrick Roy took a big gamble and pulled goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere with 2:30 left in regulation, and former Ranger P.A. Parenteau scored the tying goal with 1:47 left.

''Who said we have to pull the goalie with one minute in the game?" Roy asked. "I thought that was the right time and I thought we started generating more offense. I thought they were tired and it was a great window of opportunity there.''

Parenteau had been a healthy scratch the past two contests for the Avalanche, who have won six of seven on the road. It marked his first goal since Dec. 6 after going without one in his previous 15 games.

''We showed great resilience,'' O'Reilly said. ''We stuck with it the whole game. That was a big play by Parenteau tying the game, and it gave us a ton of momentum going to OT.''

Semyon Varlamov will get the start against the Rangers after Giguere made 27 saves Monday. Varlamov is 12-1-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average over his last 14 starts and hasn't suffered a regulation defeat on the road since Dec. 5 at Edmonton.

Varlamov made 41 saves in a 3-1 win over the Rangers in the last meeting March 17, 2012, as Colorado won its third straight in the series.

New York is likely to counter with Henrik Lundqvist, who made 38 saves Friday to improve to 8-2-0 with a 1.50 GAA over his last 10 starts. He's 1-3-1 with a 2.88 GAA in five career outings against Colorado.

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