DENVER - Without Rick Nash, sidelined by a sore back, the Rangers began their two-game western road trip on a positive note Friday night with their fourth consecutive victory, a 2-1 decision over the Colorado Avalanche.
With the Rangers trailing 1-0 in the second period, Derek Stepan and Oscar Lindberg scored in a 21-second span.
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"We went into the second period down one but thinking we would get some opportunities, and we did," Marc Staal said. "And we were a lot more solid and a lot more aggressive after that first power play. It was a good way to finish off the game."
With Ben Street in the box for tripping Emerson Etem, who was filling in for Nash, Mats Zuccarello set up Stepan to goalie Reto Berra's right, and his quick top-shelf wrister hit the twine so hard that it bounced right back out at 12:42.
With Kevin Hayes in front, Lindberg fired from a sharp angle and scored his team-leading seventh goal at 13:03.
"I just tried to get it on the net. It hit his blocker," Lindberg said. "When you see you have the opportunity, shoot. You don't think twice about it.''
He added, "I didn't expect to have this many goals."
The Rangers are 9-2-2 and have 20 points, tied for the second-best 13-game start in franchise history. They had 21 points through 13 games in 2008-09 and 20 points in 1971-72 and in '90-91.
The Rangers entered the game having killed all of their previous 20 penalties, but 29 seconds after Hayes was whistled for a hook on Dennis Everberg at 6:44 of the first period, the Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on its first power play. Nathan MacKinnon curled around Dan Girardi and beat Henrik Lundqvist with a low glove-side wrister for his sixth goal of the season.
After the Rangers went ahead, Chris Kreider took an unnecessary penalty at 13:51 of the second period, tripping Matt Duchene. During the penalty kill, Lundqvist -- who had 29 saves and was named first star -- stopped a shot by fighting through Carl Soderberg's screen. Stepan then knelt to block Francois Beauchemin's point shot with a few seconds left.
In the third period, Dom Moore was pulled down by Soderberg at 3:27, but the Rangers couldn't extend their lead. Then Lundqvist made three saves on a mid-period shift, stopping Gabriel Landeskog, MacKinnon and Erik Johnson.
With a little more than five minutes left, Kevin Klein cleared the puck over the glass and Colorado had its fifth power play. But the Rangers did not allow a shot on Lundqvist and killed their fourth straight penalty.
Berra (31 saves) was pulled but the Avalanche couldn't solve Lundqvist, who earned his seventh victory.
"They played their best in the third," Lundqvist said of the Avalanche. "For two periods, I thought we were the better team. I thought our penalty kill stepped up big time. We had a tough bounce on the first one. But after that they pressured their top guys and just the reads they made saved us the game."