NEW YORK (AP) — Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots, Tyson Barrie scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and the Colorado Avalanche beat the New York Rangers 4-2 in the teams’ season opener Thursday night.
Matt Duchene and Mikko Rantanen scored in the first period, and Gabriel Landeskog added an empty-netter for the Avalanche.
Mika Zibanejad scored two power-play goals late in the first period for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist had 22 saves. The loss spoiled Kevin Shattenkirk’s debut with the Rangers after the prized free agent signed with his hometown team in the offseason.
New York finished 2 for 6 on the power play, and Colorado was 1 for 5.
Trailing 3-2, the Rangers picked up their intensity in the third and had some nice chances after Colorado’s Matt Nieto was sent off for hooking — his third penalty of the night.
Zibanejad missed the net from the left circle about 4 1/2 minutes in. Varlamov, who stopped David Desharnais in close earlier in the third, denied Rick Nash up front 20 seconds later, and the Avalanche goalie then thwarted Brady Skjei’s wraparound attempt about six minutes in.
Varlamov also made two big saves on Zibanejad with about four minutes to go.
The Rangers pulled Lundqvist for an extra skater with 1 1/2 minutes remaining, but couldn’t get the tying goal. Landeskog capped the scoring with just under 3 seconds left.
Both goalies made some nice stops in a chippy second period that saw the teams combine for eight penalties — five by the Rangers.
Barrie put the Avalanche up 3-2 as he came up the middle, took a pass from rookie Alex Kerfoot, skated up and fired it past Lundqvist into the top left corner with 2:10 remaining in the middle period.
Duchene, still with the Avalanche after being involved in offseason trade rumors, got Colorado on the scoreboard 5:29 into the game. Lundqvist stopped the initial shot by Nail Yakupov, but the puck dropped to the goalie’s left and Patrick Nemeth and Duchene both took whacks at the puck with Duchene putting it in.
After getting several good looks during their first power play a minute later, the Rangers then fell behind 2-0 as the Avalanche took advantage of their first man-advantage.
With New York’s 18-year-old rookie center Filip Chytil off for tripping, Rantanen took a pass from Nathan MacKinnon in the right circle and beat Lundqvist with a slap shot into the top right corner with 9:07 left in the first.
With the Rangers on the power play, Chris Kreider nearly got the Rangers on the scoreboard as his attempt on a rebound of Shattenkirk’s shot hit the right post. Seconds later, the puck came back to Shattenkirk and he passed it to the left to Zibanejad, who fired it past Varlamov with 3:32 to go.
The Rangers were on the power play again when Zibanejad got his second of the game from beyond the left circle off a pass from Mats Zuccarello with 2 seconds left in the period.
NOTES: Zibanejad became the first Rangers player with two power-play goals on opening night since Jaromir Jagr against Philadelphia on Oct. 5, 2005. ... C Chytil, selected No. 21 overall in the NHL Draft, became the fourth-youngest player to appear in a game for the Rangers at 18 years, 30 days old, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only players younger for their debuts were Harry Lumley (17 years, 42 days on Dec. 23, 1943), Len Wharton (17 years, 81 days on March 4, 1945), and Don Raleigh (17 years, 125 days on Oct. 30, 1943). ... Rangers RW Michael Grabner celebrated his 30th birthday. ... The teams conclude the season series Jan. 20 at Colorado. ... Barrie is now eight points from becoming the sixth defenseman in franchise history to reach 200 for his career. ... The Avalanche are opening the season with three road games for first time since starting the 2000-01 season with four straight away from home.