After an eight-day hiatus, the New York Rangers are back playing meaningful hockey games, and on Monday, they face one of the best teams in the NHL in the Colorado Avalanche. New York's slate this week is a tough one, starting with the Avalanche, and then playing the surging Tampa Bay Lightning before heading to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on Friday night.
Before the NHL All-Star break, New York was slumping; in January, they had a record of 5-7-2 and saw their lead on the Metropolitan Division slip. Going into Monday's action, the Rangers are only two points up on the Carolina Hurricanes.
As it seems to be every year, every game will matter for teams as they vy for playoff position, home-ice and the opportunity to be playing meaningful hockey games come the end of the season. For the Rangers, it starts with getting back to winning ways. Here's what needs to happen for New York to take the next step this month.