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Rapid Recap: Avalanche 5, Flames 3

Colorado opens new season with a home victory

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Joonas Donskoi and Mikko Rantanen each scored twice, and the Colorado Avalanche began the 2019-20 season with a 5-3 victory against the Calgary Flames on Thursday at Pepsi Center.

Ten different Avs players finished with a point on opening night. J.T. Compher also scored while Cale Makar, Matt Calvert, Nikita Zadorov, Nathan MacKinnon, Samuel Girard, Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky had assists.

Colorado and Calgary traded goals for the first half of the contest until Compher and Rantanen scored back-to-back midway through the middle frame. The Avalanche tallied on two of its six power-play opportunities.

Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano found the back of the net for the Flames, who lost to the Avs in five games during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.

The teams meet again on Nov. 19 in Calgary.

Statistics | Notes & Quotes | Highlights | Photo Gallery | Video: Coach Bednar Postgame

THE GOALS

1st Period
5:59 COL (1-0) - PPG, Joonas Donskoi redirected Samuel Girard's slap shot from the blue line with nine seconds left on Colorado's man advantage. Andre Burakovsky also had an assist.
8:33 CGY (1-1) - PPG, Sean Monahan scored after his shot from the low left side went off a defender's stick. The goal came seconds after a Calgary 5-on-3 power play expired.
16:08 COL (2-1) - Mikko Rantanen recorded his first goal of the season on a backhand shot that went far side. He was all alone at the right circle after receiving a cross-ice pass from Gabriel Landeskog.

2nd Period
1:50 CGY (2-2) - PPG, Johnny Gaudreau scored into an open net after the puck found him on the right side.
12:22 COL (3-2) - J.T. Compher scored into an open net from a tough angle after receiving a cross-ice pass from Matt Calvert. Nikita Zadorov also contributed a helper on the marker.
16:51 COL (4-2) - PPG, Mikko Rantanen took a pass from Nathan MacKinnon at the right circle and fired a wrist shot into the top half of the net . Cale Makar also recorded an assist on the play for his first NHL regular-season point.
17:07 CGY (4-3) - Mark Giordano scored on a wrist shot from the left circle that went near-side.

3rd Period

18:51 COL (5-3) - ENG, Joonas Donskoi recorded an empty-net marker on a breakaway.

Final: Avalanche - 5 | Flames - 3

3 STARS

  1. Mikko Rantanen (COL): Tallied twice including the game-winner
  2. Gabriel Landeskog (COL): Had one assist and won 6-of-10 faceoffs
  3. Joonas Donskoi (COL): Recorded two goals in his Avalanche debut

Selected by Colorado Hockey Coach of the Game: Brent Bohn (Team Colorado)

POWER PLAYS

Colorado: 2 for 6
Calgary: 2 for 4

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Colorado: Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period to help Colorado hold onto the lead. It was his first NHL opening night start of his career.
Calgary: David Rittich finished with 27 saves on 31 shots.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Opening Night Success: The Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise improves to 23-10-7 (.663) all-time on opening night, the second-best record in the NHL behind Tampa Bay… The Avalanche/Nordiques franchise improves to 28-8-4 all-time in home openers. The Avs are 16-5-3 (.729) in home openers since moving from Quebec, which includes a 14-4-2 (.750) mark at Pepsi Center--Thursday marked the arena's 20th opening night. Minnesota entered the day as the only team with a high points percentage in home openers (.833; 13-1-4).

NOTEBOOK

The game was the start of a four-game homestand, the longest season-opening homestand in franchise history… It was the first time that the Avalanche has played the Flames on opening night since the team moved to Colorado in 1995… Joonas Donskoi scored his first goal as a member of the Avalanche, while Andre Burakovsky picked up his first point in Colorado with an assist on the marker… Cale Makar recorded his first NHL regular-season point with an assist… The Avs outshot the Flames 14-3 in the first period... Head coach Jared Bednar remains undefeated in season openers (4-0-0)… Mikko Rantanen registered hin ninth multi-goal game of his career and first since Jan. 19, 2019 vs. Los Angeles (2)… The second tally stood as the game-winning goal, the 10th of his career… Joonas Donskoi matched a career high for goals in a game (6x, last: Jan. 8, 2019 vs. Edmonton)… The Avalanche has won seven straight regular-season games at home dating back to the 2018-19 campaign.

QUOTABLE

Mikko Rantanen on the Avs getting four goals from Finnish players: "I don't know, it was a good start for Finland I guess, but hopefully we can continue for another 81 games. It's a long season. Donskoi is a good addition and all the new guys looked really good, so that is good for us."

BIG HIGHLIGHT

Video: CGY@COL: Landeskog sets up Rantanen's backhand tally

IMAGE OF THE GAME

Mikko Rantanen tests the air before a faceoff.

ROSTER REPORT

Conor Timmins made his NHL debut, while Cale Makar played in his first regular season contest after appearing in 10 playoff contests last year… In addition to Timmins, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Andre Burakovsky, Joonas Donskoi, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin made their Avalanche debuts… Philipp Grubauer started in goal for Colorado, becoming the eighth different netminder to guard the pipes in a season opener in the team's 24-season history in Denver… Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev and Colin Wilson were Colorado's healthy scratches.

INJURY UPDATE

Defenseman Ian Cole continues to recover after having offseason surgery on both of his hips… He skated every day during the team's training camp and has been a non-contact participant at practice recently.

UP NEXT

The Avalanche continues its season-opening homestand by taking on the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be a Division Rivalry game as Colorado will wear its navy third jerseys for the first of 13 times this season.

LINE COMBINATIONS

Based on start of the game
Forwards

92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
17 Tyson Jost - 91 Nazem Kadri - 95 Andre Burakovsky
83 Matt Nieto - 37 J.T. Compher - 72 Joonas Donskoi
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 11 Matt Calvert

Defensemen

49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
16 Nikita Zadorov - 8 Cale Makar
27 Ryan Graves - 20 Conor Timmins

Goaltenders

31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

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