Mikko Rantanen had a four-point performance to help the Colorado Avalanche extend its winning streak to five games with a 5-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at Ball Arena on Thursday.
Rantanen scored twice and added two assists while Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two helpers apiece.
Joonas Donskoi also scored to extend his point streak to three games and defensemen Samuel Girard, Jacob MacDonald and Ryan Graves all collected an assist. Philipp Grubauer stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.
The Avs recorded 55 shots on goal in the contest, the second most in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history. The record of 57 was set on March 5, 1996 against the San Jose Sharks.
Victor Rask scored for Minnesota while Willd goalie Cam Talbot made 50 saves.
Colorado and Minnesota meet again on Saturday to conclude the Avs' nine-game homestand. The Avalanche is 6-1-1 so far on this homestay at Ball Arena.
11:10 COL (1-0) - Nathan MacKinnon deked two Wild skaters at the blue line and his shot bounced off a defender's stick and into the net.
19:02 COL (2-0) - Samuel Girard passed the puck into the crease from the left circle and Mikko Rantanen redirected it into the cage. Nathan MacKinnon also assisted on the play.
8:41 MIN (2-1) - PPG, Victor Rask skated the puck into the offensive zone and scored glove side from the left circle.
15:07 COL (3-1) - PPG, Gabriel Landeskog collected his own rebound and tallied while falling to the ice near the blue paint
1:57 COL (4-1) - Joonas Donskoi chased down a loose puck in the neutral zone and scored five-hole on a breakaway.
6:30 COL (5-1) - Mikko Rantanen scored his second of the night with a backhander that went near-side, top shelf.
Final: Avalanche - 5 | Wild - 1
Colorado: 1 for 2
Minnesota: 1 for 4
Colorado: Philipp Grubauer stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.
Minnesota: Cam Talbot allowed five goals on 55 shots.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Nathan MacKinnon's helper in the first period moved him past Dale Hunter (322) for sole possession of seventh place in franchise history in assists.
The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native also scored in the first period, the fourth consecutive game that he has found the back of the net and extending his season-long streak. MacKinnon sits one goal shy of 200 in his career and finished the outing with one tally and two assists, his third three-point performance of the season.
The Avs recorded 55 shots on goal in the contest, the second most in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history. The record of 57 was set on March 5, 1996 against the San Jose Sharks... Colorado's 25 shots on goal in the first period equaled the third-most in a single frame in franchise history. The Avs/Nordiques record of 29 was registered in the first period at the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 11, 1997… Mikko Rantanen had two goals and two assists to record his second four-point game of the season. He now has 16 tallies and 18 helpers on the campaign... Gabriel Landeskog appeared in his 659th career game, tying Cody McLeod for the fourth-most games in an Avalanche sweater. Only Milan Hejduk (1,020), Joe Sakic (870) and Adam Foote (760) have played more games since the team moved to Denver... Joonas Donskoi scored to extend his point streak to three games. He has two goals and two assists in the stretch… Jacob MacDonald helped on Donskoi's marker to pick up his first career assist... The Avs have won a season-high five straight games and are 6-1-1 so far on this homestand... Colorado is 9-2-1 in its last 12 contests... The game marked the halfway point of the Avalanche's season. With the win, the Avs have their third-highest points percentage at the midpoint (.679)... Colorado is 16-3-1 when scoring first this year, with its 16 wins tied for the most in the NHL.
Head coach Jared Bednar on fans returning to Ball Arena starting April 2: "It's really exciting, it's hard to even remember the last time we played in front of fans (in Denver) and they just add that level of excitement and energy, especially here at Ball Arena. We are looking forward to it. We've played in some building already this year where there has been some fans, and it just brings a whole other element to the game and that's why these guys play. They love to perform and to do it in front of our fans is going to be awesome. We are really looking forward to that, especially as this thing goes along if we are able to add more and more fans if things go well. This is an exciting time for our hockey team here going into the second half of the season."
Video: MIN@COL: MacKinnon scores after several slick moves
IMAGE OF THE GAME
Defensemen Bowen Byram and Cale Makar returned to game action after missing the previous nine and 10 outings, respectively, with upper-body injuries. Byram began the game on a pairing with Ryan Graves while Makar was with Devon Toews. Samuel Girard and Jacob MacDonald made up the third pairing. Colorado did not make any changes to its forward combinations, and Philipp Grubauer was between the pipes for the 24th time this year. J.T. Compher, Greg Pateryn and Dan Renouf were the Avs' healthy scratches.
Forward J.T. Compher has been cleared medically to play but did not suit up as head coach Jared Bednar wanted to get the center some more conditioning time before his expected return to the lineup on Saturday. Young D-man Conor Timmins is out with an upper-body injury while Pavel Francouz (lower body) and Erik Johnson (upper body) remain out long term.
The Avalanche finishes its nine-game homestay, the longest continuous homestand in franchise history, on Saturday afternoon against the Wild. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT.
Based on start of the game
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon 96 Mikko Rantanen
20 Brandon Saad - 91 Nazem Kadri 95 Andre Burakovsky
13 Valeri Nichushkin 17 Tyson Jost 72 Joonas Donskoi
11 Matt Calvert 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 25 Logan O'Connor
7 Devon Toews - 8 Cale Makar
49 Samuel Girard - 34 Jacob MacDonald
27 Ryan Graves - 4 Bowen Byram
31 Philipp Grubauer
32 Hunter Miska