New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Callahan shook off recent trade rumors to score a pair of first-period goals that set the tone for the New York Rangers' fourth straight victory, a 5-1 rout of the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden.
Callahan, mentioned as a possible candidate to be moved prior to the upcoming trade deadline due to his unrestricted free agent status at season's end, added an assist on Brad Richards' late tally to help the Rangers record their longest win streak of the season.
Richards and Derick Brassard each posted a goal and assist and Anton Stralman also lit the lamp for New York. Henrik Lundqvist did his part as well between the pipes, turning back 27-of-28 shots in the triumph.
Gabriel Landeskog had the lone goal for Colorado, which had won four in a row coming in and was dealt only its second loss in its last eight road tests. Semyon Varlamov finished with 38 saves.
"Some nights the puck doesn't bounce your way. That's the way it was tonight," said Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy.
Callahan was the star of a first period in which the Rangers thoroughly dominated, outshooting the Avalanche by a 20-4 margin en route to building a 2-0 lead.
Carl Hagelin set up the initial goal by winning a battle for the puck in the neutral zone, creating a 2-on-1 that culminated with Callahan depositing a backhander through Varlamov's pads with 5:44 remaining in the stanza.
Callahan struck again less than 3 1/2 minutes later, ripping home a drop pass from Richards after the latter stole the puck from Matt Duchene in the Colorado end.
"We had a real strong start," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. "Obviously we were meeting a team that was tired and we were fresh. It was their third game in four nights, but we came out the way I thought we needed to come out and that was a determining factor tonight."
The Avs capitalized on their first power play of the night to cut their deficit in half 6:37 into the second period, with Landeskog one-timing a Nathan MacKinnon feed over Lundqvist's blocker to get his team on the board.
New York had a quick response, however, as Stralman sent a long wrister that deflected off Duchene's arm and found its way through just 53 seconds after Landeskog's score.
"It was a good bounce-back after that goal," said Callahan.
Colorado had an opportunity to close the gap by earning a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage late in the second, but the Rangers killed off the penalties in large part to two big saves from Lundqvist -- one on MacKinnon and the other on Duchene -- from near point-blank range.
Brassard slid a shot under Varlamov's left pad with 1:58 elapsed in the third period to give New York a three-goal advantage, and Richards connected on Callahan's no-look give from behind the Colorado net to close out the scoring with 1:36 left to play.