Could Emerson Etem have slipped deeper into the role of spare forward?
Obtained from Anaheim in the Carl Hagelin trade in June, Etem was a scratch again Thursday, as coach Alain Vigneault opted to dress Tanner Glass, called up from Hartford, for the second consecutive game as a 12th forward with Derek Stepan injured.
Glass, who played 9:13, was not as effective as he was against the Islanders on Wednesday. But he provided the only spice in a vanilla first period, during which the Rangers had four shots on net and the Avalanche three. Glass got into a bout near the benches with Cody McLeod. A few decent blows landed and Glass appeared to have a bloody nose or lip.
Etem, 23, who has just two assists in 10 games, has size and speed and offensive upside; an undisclosed illness sent him to the sidelines Tuesday. Glass, 32, who has played two seasons here and skated for Vigneault in Vancouver, has more experience.
Against the Islanders, “[Glass] played a real strong physical game,” Vigneault said. “Emerson just skated for the first time today in the last three days, so it was an easy call to make the way Glass played.” Etem could, however, play against Ottawa on Sunday.
One solution to prevent a 1-3-1 trap such as Colorado’s, said Vigneault, is this: “If you score early, you have the possibility of making them open it up a little bit,” he said. “We spent time in their end but didn’t get a lot of shots or opportunities.” . . . Rick Nash and Derick Brassard assisted on Oscar Lindberg’s goal, his 10th . . . Chris Kreider had a breakaway with six minutes left and was foiled.