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Landeskog, Varlamov lift Avs over Rangers 3-1

By Ira Podell

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 7:50 p.m. MDT

New York Rangers' John Mitchell attempts to deflects the puck past Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, right, of Russia, as he is checked by Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson, rear, during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bill Kostroun, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Colorado rookie Gabriel Landeskog broke a second-period tie, and Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves to lift the Avalanche over the sliding New York Rangers 3-1 on Saturday night.

Landeskog gave the Avalanche the lead, and Varlamov made it stand up as playoff-hopeful Colorado finished a 2-0-1 Eastern road trip.

The Rangers' once seemingly comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference is nearly gone with 11 games remaining. New York lost its second straight, and fifth in seven games, as surging Pittsburgh closes in. The Penguins, who beat New Jersey earlier Saturday to close within two points, can get even with the Rangers with a win Sunday in Philadelphia.

Colorado moved past idle Phoenix into seventh place in the West, but the Avalanche have played two more games than the Coyotes.

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