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HATS OFF: Mikko Rantanen tallied his second career hat trick on Saturday night in New Jersey. It was the third hat trick by an Avalanche player this year (Joonas Donskoi, Tyson Jost), which is tied with Boston and Florida for the second-most hat tricks among all teams behind Edmonton (4).
MULTIPLICITY: Samuel Girard recorded three straight multi-point games, Dec. 31 to Jan. 4, which included a career-high, four-point night on Jan. 2 vs. St. Louis. Girard became the third Avalanche defenseman (fourth time) to record three straight multi-point games, joining John-Michael Liles (Dec. 23-29, 2008 and Oct. 10-14, 2005) and Sandis Ozolinsh (Feb. 16-23, 1996).
CAREER YEARS: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has matched his single-season career highs in goals (7) and points (16). He is one assist shy of equaling his personal best (2017-18 with Vegas). Joonas Donskoi has tied his career high with 14 goals (also 2018-19 and 2017-18 with San Jose). Ian Cole is one goal shy of tying his career high (done three times).
Tuesday, Jan. 7 at New York Rangers
Madison Square Garden, 5:30 p.m. MT, TV: NBCSN, Radio: 92.5 FM
The Avs wrap up their eighth back-to-back set of the season against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Colorado is 3-3-1 in the second half of consecutive-night sets this season. This is the first of two meetings between the Avalanche and Rangers, as New York will make its lone trip to the Mile High City on March 11. The Avs went 1-0-1 against New York last campaign, falling 3-2 in a shootout on the road and winning 6-1 in Denver.
Friday, Jan. 10 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Pepsi Center, 7 p.m. MT, TV: Altitude, Radio: 92.5 FM
Colorado closes out a stretch of four-straight games against the Eastern Conference on Friday, hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pepsi Center. This will wrap up the two-game series between the clubs. Pittsburgh won the first meeting in overtime on Oct. 16. The game is also the first of a five-game homestand, one of two such stretches the Avs have this campaign. The other is Feb. 11-19 and includes the Stadium Series game at the Air Force Academy's Falcon Stadium.
Player Spotlight: Nathan MacKinnon
MacKinnon was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Jan. 5, his third Three Stars of the Week award of the season and the seventh of his career. MacKinnon tied for the league lead in scoring last week with the Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele, producing eight points (3g/5a) in three games. He is expected to appear in his 500th career game tonight, becoming the sixth draft pick in Avalanche history (since 1995-96) to play 500 contests with Colorado, joining Gabriel Landeskog (606), Alex Tanguay (598), Matt Duchene (586), Paul Stastny (538) and John-Michael Liles (523).