The ESPN+ exclusive schedule continues on Tuesday night with a potential Stanley Cup Final matchup, as the New York Rangers visit the Colorado Avalanche, with coverage starting at 8:55 p.m. ET.
To help get you ready for the game, we’ve put together a guide on all the key players to watch for each team, including in-depth statistical insights from ESPN Stats & Information, and more.
This season, ESPN+ will broadcast 75 exclusive regular-season games, with ABC and ESPN airing a combined 28 exclusive regular-season games for a total of 103 games. The complete broadcast schedule can be found here.
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8:55 p.m. ET | Watch live on ESPN+
Line: Colorado -200 | Over/under: 6
ESPN Power Rankings: 6
Goalie confidence rank: 3
Leading scorer: Artemi Panarin, 32 points in 27 games
2021-22 record: 18-6-3, third in Metro division
The Rangers are 18-6-3, good for 39 points this season. They are one win and one point shy of the most in the league, and their .722 points percentage is tied with the Hurricanes for second best in the league behind the Panthers (.741, 18-5-4, 40 Pts). Their 39 points are tied for third most in franchise history through 27 games, and trail only the 41 points in 1971-72 and the 40 points in 1993-94; both of those teams went to the Stanley Cup Final (1993-94 Rangers won the Cup).
The Rangers have won four straight on the road and are 10-3-2 on the road this season. The only team with a better points percentage on the road this season than the Rangers’ .733 is Carolina (.735, 12-4-1). This performance is tied for the most points (22) the Rangers had in their first 15 road games of a season in franchise history with the 2010-11 campaign (11-4-0, 22 points); a win in this game would give them the most points through their first 16 road games all time.
The Rangers are 9-2-3 in games decided by one goal this season. The nine wins are tied for second in the NHL, and are one shy of doubling their total from all of last season, when they tied with the Red Wings for the fewest such wins (5-9-6).
Adam Fox has 29 points to lead all defensemen this season. If he gets a point on Tuesday, he’ll be the quickest to 30 points by a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch did it in 24 games in 2000-01.
Chris Kreider‘s 17 goals are tied for fifth in the NHL this season, and would put him on a 51-goal pace over 82 games. There have been three 50-goal seasons in Rangers history: Jaromir Jagr, with 54 in 2005-06; Adam Graves, with 52 in 1993-94; Vic Hadfield, with 50 in 1971-72.
The Rangers are one of three teams with multiple 20-assist players: Adam Fox (24) and Artemi Panarin (23), joining the Oilers (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and Capitals (Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov). Both players are on an 82-game pace to put up approximately 70 assists this season, a benchmark that hasn’t been reached by a Rangers player since Wayne Gretzky in 1996-97 (72).
The Rangers have been without goalie Igor Shesterkin recently, who has the highest save percentage of any goalie with 10 games played this season, at .937. Alexandar Georgiev ranks 39th, at .902. However, Georgiev has a .951 save percentage in December, which is third among goalies with at least three games played this month.
ESPN Power Rankings: 10
Goalie confidence rank: 27
Leading scorer: Nazem Kadri, 34 points in 22 games
2021-22 record: 16-7-2, fourth in Central division
The Avalanche’s 4.32 goals per game is first in the NHL, and 0.62 goals per game higher than the next best team (the Panthers, at 3.70). The difference between the Avalanche and Panthers is roughly the same difference between second and 12th.
The Avs recently had a three-game streak of scoring seven goals, the first team to do that since the 1995-96 Penguins. The Avalanche’s 79 goals in their past 15 games are the most in a 15-game span since the 1995-96 Penguins. Including shootout-deciding goals, the Avalanche have 109 this season, tied for second most in the past 25 seasons through 25 games.
Since Nov. 11, the Avalanche have the most wins (12) and standings points (25), and the highest points percentage (.833, 12-2-1) in the NHL. Their 79 goals since Nov. 11 are 17 more than any other team.
Cale Makar has 12 goals to lead all defensemen, doing so in 22 games. The last defenseman with that many goals in a player’s first 22 games was Dave Ellett, who had 14 in 1988-89. Makar is on a 39-goal pace over the Avalanche’s 82 games this season, something that has been done only four times by a defenseman in NHL history, and not since Paul Coffey had 48 for the Oilers in 1985-86, the single-season mark for a defenseman.
The Avalanche have seven players with at least 20 points, five more than any other team. Using a 10-game minimum, the Avalanche also have five of the top 15 players in points per game, and no other team has more than two such players.
Colorado averages 3.88 power-play chances per game this season, which is the highest rate in the league. The Avalanche’s 97 power-play chances are tied with the Canucks for most in the league. Since Nov. 11, when their offense hit its stride, the Avalanche are converting 32.2% of their power-play chances, second best in the NHL behind the Maple Leafs, at 35.7%.
Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper is 41st out of 44 goalies (minimum 10 games played) in goals saved above expected (-9.1) this season, meaning he has allowed 9.1 goals vs. the expectation given shot quality and quantity faced.