Nathan MacKinnon had two assists and Darcy Kuemper stopped 26 shots in Colorado's second victory over New York in less than a week. The Avalanche beat the Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday.
Ryan Strome and Julien Gauthier scored and Alexander Georgiev made 27 saves for New York, which has dropped two in a row and three of four following a seven-game winning streak that capped an 11-1 surge.
Nazem Kadri returned from a two-game absence with three assists and leads Colorado with 37 points. But defenseman Devon Toews tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in the NHL's health and safety protocol.
The Avalanche are also without captain Gabriel Landeskog, expected to miss a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury sustained Friday against Detroit.
Rantanen gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 12:18 of the first with his 13th goal, and Makar got his 13th on a power play late in the period.
New York broke through midway through the second on Strome's sixth goal to make it 2-1 at 10:36. Nichushkin answered late in the period to restore the two-goal advantage.
J.T. Compher appeared to make it 4-1 at 12:12 of the third but the Rangers challenged for goalie interference and the call was reversed.
Gauthier scored at 17:58 with Georgiev off for an extra skater, and Chris Kreider nearly tied it with just more than a minute left. Georgiev was back in net when Nichushkin scored at 19:23, his ninth.
NOTES: Toews will be out until after the league's Christmas hiatus. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Toews is symptomatic. D Justin Barron was recalled from the AHL and made his NHL debut. ... Rangers D Nils Lundkvist was scratched for the second straight game with a non-COVID-19 illness. ... Colorado D Jacob MacDonald was out of the lineup. He left Sunday's game on a stretcher after a hard check but remained at the arena.
Rangers: Play at Arizona on Wednesday night.
Avalanche: Play at Nashville on Thursday night.
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