W2W4: Rangers vs. Avalanche

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
12:09
PM ET
At a glance: Despite persistent speculation about captain Ryan Callahan's future with the team, the New York Rangers have recorded three straight wins as they round the bend into the last week of game’s before the NHL-mandated Olympic break. Looking to keep their winning streak intact, the Blueshirts host the red-hot Colorado Avalanche, a team that is scorching with four consecutive victories. Most recently the Avs stunned the New Jersey Devils with a come-from-behind 2-1 win Monday night in Newark.

Tough decision: With the Rangers exploring the trade market for Ryan Callahan, and at least one report suggesting that they may trade him prior to Friday’s Olympic roster freeze, it would not be outside the realm of possibility for the club to protect its asset and sit the 28-year-old winger so as to hedge against a potential injury. That does not appear to be the Rangers intentions, however, with Callahan expected to be in the lineup Tuesday night. Things could always change at the last minute, though. Stay tuned.

Rocky mountain high: With four straight wins and eight in their last 10, the Avalanche are the hottest team in the league at the moment. Their recent surge has made things extremely interesting in the Western Conference as well. They sit only two points back from the formidable St. Louis Blues in the Central Division and only five back from the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks (though the 'Hawks have two games in hand).

Proud Papa: The only Ranger absent for Tuesday's morning skate was defenseman Marc Staal, and for good reason. Staal and his wife Lindsay celebrated the birth of their first child, daughter Anna Veralyn, Tuesday morning. Staal is still expected to play Tuesday night.

Player to watch: Keep an eye on 25-year-old winger Jamie McGinn, a player in whom the Rangers are rumored to have interest. The physical forward has 14 goals and 23 points in 52 games for the Avs this season and could be in play as the March 5 trade deadline approaches. The Avalanche will likely be looking to add some depth on the blue line in the near future.

Power outage: The Rangers have dropped to 10th in the league on the man-advantage after coming up blank on all 10 power-play opportunities in the last four games.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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