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Rapid Recap: Avalanche 7, Blackhawks 3

Joonas Donskoi and Mikko Rantanen each record four points as Colorado sweeps weekend set

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche scored seven unanswered goals on Saturday night at Pepsi Center to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3, sweeping the back-to-back, home-and-home set.

After winning 5-2 on Friday afternoon in Chicago, the Avs' offense was led by four-point games from their two Finnish forwards, Joonas Donskoi and Mikko Rantanen. With two goals and two assists, Donskoi produced a career high for points in a game, while Rantanen's goal and three assists marked the seventh time in his career he's registered four points.

Brandon Saad opened the game's scoring for the Blackhawks with a short-handed tally just 1:37 into the contest, but Nazem Kadri soon tallied twice in a matter of 85 seconds to flip the score in favor of Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon, who had three points in the contest, also found the back of the net in the first frame before the Avs scored four more times in the second period.

Samuel Girard recorded two helpers in the contest and Tyson Jost also tallied for the Avalanche. In addition, Matt Nieto had an assist and goalie Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 shots in the victory, the team's third in a row.

Chicago also received tallies from Dominik Kubalik and Patrick Kane, who extended his point streak to 15 games.

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

THE GOALS

1st Period
1:37 CHI (0-1) - SHG, Brandon Saad took a centering pass in the slot and one-touched the puck into the net to begin the game's scoring.
7:53 COL (1-1) - PPG, Nazem Kadri took a quick pass from behind the net by Mikko Rantanen and scored on a wrist shot in front.
9:18 COL (2-1) - Nazem Kadri caught a saucer pass from the right boards by Matt Nieto, was patient with the puck and tallied his second of the night on a shot that found a gaping net.
11:08 COL (3-1) - Nathan MacKinnon snapped a shot into the net from the slot after receiving a pass from Mikko Rantanen.

2nd Period
2:52 COL (4-1) - After a stretch pass to Ryan Graves, Joonas Donskoi then received a centering feed and scored while all alone with Chicago goaltender Robin Lehner.
5:50 COL (5-1) - Mikko Rantanen buried a rebound off Samuel Girard's shot.
8:28 COL (6-1) - Joonas Donskoi scored on a wrister that went five-hole after taking a pass from Nathan MacKinnon, who was behind the net.
10:38 COL (7-1) - Tyson Jost took the puck coast to coast and scored short-side.
11:14 CHI (7-2) - Dominik Kubalik scored short-side during a rush up the ice.

3rd Period
14:38 CHI (7-3) - PPG, Patrik Kane scored on a shot that went high, short-side.

Final: Avalanche - 7 | Blackhawks - 3

3 STARS

  1. Joonas Donskoi (COL): Recorded a career-high four points
  2. Nazem Kadri (COL): Scored the Avs' first two goals of the game
  3. Mikko Rantanen (COL): Had a goal and three assists in his return to the lineup

Selected by Colorado Hockey Coach of the Game: Gary Rab (Columbine High School)

POWER PLAYS

Colorado: 1 for 4
Chicago: 1 for 6

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Colorado: Philipp Grubauer stopped 26-of-29 shots.
Chicago: Robin Lehner started the game and made nine saves on 14 shots before being relieved at 5:50 of the second period. Corey Crawford finished the game and made 13-of-15 saves. It was the second straight day that Crawford saw action after playing all of Friday's contest in Chicago.

STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT

Mikko, We Know Him!: In his return to the lineup, Mikko Rantanen registered his first four-point game of the season (one goal and three assists) and tied a career high for the most in a contest (six times previously). He has picked up at least a point in each of the last three games he's played and has registered at least a goal or an assist in nine of the 10 outings he's skated in this year.

Rantanen recorded his fourth multi-point game of the year and improved his season totals to six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 10 games.

November To Remember: Nathan MacKinnon now has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 14 games this month, the second most in the league. It is the third straight November that MacKinnon has recorded at least 20 points, and he set a new career high for points in any month after recording 23 last November. His 25 points also sets a new Avalanche team record (since 1995-96) for the most by a player in the month of November.

MacKinnon--who extended his point streak to seven games (six goals, 10 assists) and finished the home-and-home set with the Blackhawks with seven total points (two goals, five assists)--has combined for 68 points (24 goals, 44 assists) in 40 November games since 2017, the most of any player.

NOTEBOOK

The Avalanche's seven goals scored were its second-most of the season and marked the fifth time in 2019-20 that it had tallied six or more times in a game… With two goals and two assists, Joonas Donskoi registered a career-high four points. After producing just one three-point game in the previous four seasons with San Jose, Donskoi now has four games of three or more points in 2019-20… Ryan Graves has points in three straight games, setting a new career-long point streak… Matt Nieto is on a three-game point streak… Nazem Kadri registered his second multi-goal game of the season and his fifth multi-point performance in 2019-20… Nazem Kadri scored twice in the opening period and Joonas Donskoi scored twice in the second period, the seventh and eighth time this season Colorado has had a player with multiple goals in a single frame… Ian Cole recorded his 100th career assist… T.J. Tynan picked up his first career NHL point with an assist on Tyson Jost's goal… Samuel Girard recorded his first NHL fight and major penalty after dropping the gloves with Alex DeBrincat at 17:23 of the first period… Logan O'Connor played in his sixth game of the season, surpassing the total from his rookie campaign last year… The Avalanche finished month of November 8-6-0, going 8-3-0 over its last 11 contests… Colorado swept a back-to-back set for the second time this season (also: Oct. 18-19) and is now 2-2-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets in 2019-20.

QUOTABLE

Nathan MacKinnon Mikko Rantanen's first game back: "I think he's just trying to work hard, and he's such an amazing player. I remember when he came back from his contract, came a little late to camp, his first practice on the ice he was the best player on the ice by a mile. It doesn't take him much to get comfortable, and I'm so happy to see him out there."

BIG HIGHLIGHT

Video: CHI@COL: Jost goes top shelf on rush to extend lead

IMAGE OF THE GAME

Lightweight title fight.

ROSTER REPORT

Mikko Rantanen returned to the lineup after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury. He was playing in his first game since Oct. 21 at the St. Louis Blues and skated on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Joonas Donskoi… The Avs reassigned forwards Sheldon Dries and A.J. Greer to the AHL Colorado Eagles earlier in the day… Mark Barberio was a healthy scratch… Goaltender Philipp Grubauer started in net.

INJURY UPDATE

Matt Calvert (head) and Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) continue to skate on their own but have yet to join a team practice… Andre Burakovsky (upper body) missed his second game of the season, while Erik Johnson (lower body) was out for his third straight contest… Colin Wilson remains out with a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

The Avalanche has three days between games and next heads out east for a three-game road trip. Colorado faces the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday before playing at the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. The Avs wrap up the trip on Saturday at the Boston Bruins.

LINE COMBINATIONS

Based on start of the game
Forwards
96 Mikko Rantanen - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 72 Joonas Donskoi
83 Matt Nieto - 91 Nazem Kadri - 37 J.T. Compher
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 25 Logan O'Connor
81 Vladislav Kamenev - 17 Tyson Jost - 36 T.J. Tynan

Defensemen
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
16 Nikita Zadorov - 49 Samuel Girard
48 Calle Rosen - 28 Ian Cole

Goaltenders
31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

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