The Colorado Avalanche lost to the New York Rangers 6-3 on the first night of a season-long four-game home stand on Thursday night. Kevin Hayes led the way for the Rangers (32-16-5) with a goal, two assists, and a plus-4 rating.

The Rangers improved to 10-3-4 against Western Conference opponents on the season.

It was the fourth consecutive loss for the downward-spiraling Avalanche (22-22-11). The club now sits eight points out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with 27 games remaining.

“It was disappointing, but we don’t really have time to feel for sorry for ourselves,” Avalanche captain Gabriel landeskog said. “We have to think about this one tonight and move on tomorrow.”

Jarome Iginla tied Mark Recchi for 19th all-time at 577 goals by tallying a goal and an assist with a plus-2 rating in the contest.

Ryan O’Reilly played in his 400th career game with the Avalanche.

Dan Boyle opened the scoring when he caught the Avalanche on a line change and beat Semyon Varlamov on a breakaway at 16:30 of the first period.

Early in the second stanza, Hayes went coast-to-coast and beat Varlamov to extend the Rangers lead to 2-0.

After sustained pressure by the Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon threw the puck to the net and Gabriel Landeskog buried the rebound to cut the deficit in half at 12:46 of the second period.

“I was very proud of our captain,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “I thought he showed great urgency in the second, especially when he scored his goal. I thought that was great leadership by him.”

Matt Zuccarello scored four minutes later to reestablish the Rangers lead at 3-1.

Iginla and Jan Hejda scored in the first 10:44 of the third period to tie the game temporarily at three a piece. Hejda’s goal was his first of the season while Iginla tallied his team-leading 17th marker.

Just over a minute after the Avalanche tied the game, Carl Hagelin deflated the comeback and put the Rangers back ahead 4-3.

Rick Nash made it 5-3 with beauty while taking a hit as he came out from behind the net.

Coach Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov with four minutes remaining, allowing Rangers captain Ryan McDonough to capitalize with an empty-net goal to extend the lead to 6-3.

“Our confidence is not there,” coach Roy said. “There is no doubt about it and it’s my job to remain patient and give them the opportunity to practice. Hopefully it will turn and help us to win some hockey games.”

The Avalanche will try to put an end to the losing streak when the Dallas Stars come to town in Saturday night.

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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