In a game where the Colorado Avalanche erupted for eight goals, the team was bound to have some of its players reach a few milestones in the victory.
Two players scored landmark goals as captain Gabriel Landeskog tallied twice to hit 200 career markers while linemate Mikko Rantanen also found the back of the net to reach the 100-goal threshold.
While the personal achievement is nice to have, it was the cherry on top for the forwards in the Avs' 8-0 win against the St. Louis Blues on Friday at Ball Arena.
"You don't play the game to reach these milestones, you play the game to help the team win, and obviously scoring goals helps the team win and things like that," said Landeskog. "It's just nice to get on the scoresheet and I am sure down the road, maybe when you're done, it's something you're proud of for sure."
Video: STL@COL: Landeskog earns his second on one-timer
Landeskog is the seventh player in franchise history and fourth in Avalanche history to reach 200. He is two tallies shy of tying Peter Forsberg (202) for third in the Avs record book. Drafted by Colorado with the second-overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, the Stockholm, Sweden, native joins Nikita Kucherov (221) as the only members of their draft class to surpass 200 markers.
Rantanen set up Landeskog's 200th by forcing a turnover in the offensive zone and feeding him the puck from behind the goal. Less than three minutes later, Rantanen found the back of the net himself.
"Obviously feels good to get that one," Rantanen said. "I wasn't thinking about it too much but obviously feels good, can't deny that. The biggest thing is to get the win, but it's a good bonus."
Video: STL@COL: Rantanen buries PPG for 100th NHL goal
Rantanen became the fifth player from the 2015 draft class to reach 100, joining Connor McDavid (165), Jack Eichel (137), Sebastian Aho (121) and Kyle Connor (106), and he is the 12th player to record 100 goals in an Avalanche sweater.
Landeskog and Rantanen were on a line with Nathan MacKinnon, who had a goal and two assists versus St. Louis, and the trio combined for seven points in the outing. The combo has spent much of the past three seasons together and was reunited for the game to help generate more offense following the team's 4-1 loss to the Blues in the season opener on Wednesday.
MacKinnon did not achieve any milestones in the contest like his linemates, but he did get closer to his next landmark point. Adding three points to his career totals, the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native is now just two away from reaching 500 points, which would make him the seventh player in franchise history and fourth in Avalanche history to reach the half-century mark.
"When you are in the league a while you get points, I will get there eventually," said MacKinnon. "Obviously it's a cool milestone, but like I said when you play a lot of games, you get some bounces."
Video: Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen postgame
After falling 4-1 to the Blues to open the season on Wednesday, head coach Jared Bednar wanted his team to play with a higher sense of urgency on Friday, and he was certainly pleased with what he saw.
"What I liked is our response start to finish. We got outworked, we got embarrassed in the opening game, and we lost and it wasn't the way we wanted to lose," said Bednar. "I think the guys took it to heart and came out with a real strong work ethic, real strong competitiveness and real good commitment to defend. When we defend hard like that then we come up with the puck a lot more and then we're able to go on the attack."
Neither team had scored heading into the first intermission, but the Avs tallied four times in each the second and third frames to secure the decisive victory.
Video: STL@COL: MacKinnon races through defense for PPG
"It was 0-0 after the first period and we kind of took control in the second. I know it was a pretty lopsided score, but it was definitely a tough first period," said Nathan MacKinnon. "I feel like we had to break them down and we kind of did that in the first, we kind of wore on them. It was great, the power play got clicking, it was great to see a lot of different guys start feeling it and chip in. A couple days off (now), probably one of the only times all season, and hopefully we'll have a good trip in California."
The Avalanche's eight goals are its most since scoring nine on Nov. 7, 2019 vs. Nashville. It's the 13th time since the franchise moved to Denver that the Avs have scored eight or more times in a regular-season game.
GRUBAUER'S 12TH SHUTOUT
Philipp Grubauer stopped all 21 shots he faced in the contest, but he also helped contribute to his team's offensive output. He assisted on Andre Burakovsky's tally in the middle frame, his second career helper and first with Colorado.
"I told the guys in the locker room if they want to score just give me the puck first," joked the German netminder after the contest. "Guys made it really easy for me. Compared to the first game [when] I think we were a little bit all over the place, and today we were really structured and we were working hard. We were skating, we were checking and when we are doing that it makes it really, really easy for me."
The shutout was Grubauer's 12th in his career and his sixth with Colorado.
Video: STL@COL: Grubauer stones O'Reilly in front
POWER PLAY SUCCESS
The Avalanche didn't find the back of the net on its first power-play opportunity of the contest but scored on five of its next six chances with the man advantage.
Video: STL@COL: Toews nets PPG for first with Avalanche
The Avalanche finished 5-for-7 on the power play, matching a franchise high for power-play goals in a game. It's the second time the club has scored five man-advantage tallies in an outing since the moving to Denver (also: Feb. 20, 2018 at Vancouver) and the sixth time in franchise history.
"I think we came out aggressive. First power play of the game we had some really good looks," said Nathan MacKinnon. "It was nice to get that. I feel like last season we never really broke through like that. It's great, we are aggressive and it paid off."
D-MEN TO SKATE SATURDAY
Saturday will be an off day for the Avalanche, but a few of its defensemen are scheduled to get on the ice for the first time in a while.
Veteran rear guard Erik Johnson is set to practice after missing all of training camp per protocol after testing positive for COVID-19. He will be joined by Avs prospect Bowen Byram, who has been in a mandatory quarantine since traveling to Denver following the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta. They are expected to also practice with the team on Sunday.
OTHER GAME NOTES
The Avalanche's 8-0 win tied the franchise record for the largest margin of victory in a shutout. The Quebec Nordiques also blanked the Minnesota North Stars 8-0 on March 13, 1985 at the Colisee.
Colorado's eight-goal win is its second-largest margin of victory since Dec. 5, 1995 when the Avs beat the San Jose Sharks 12-2.
Cale Makar finished with three points (three assists), the fourth time in his career he has tallied three or more points and third time he's registered three or more assists.
Andre Burakovsky has scored in each of Colorado's first two games, the first time in his career he has scored in consecutive contests to begin a season. Both of Burakovsky's goals have come on the power play, matching his career high for man-advantage tallies in a season (four times).
Devon Toews finished with two points (one goal, one assist), his first in an Avalanche uniform. It was the fifth multi-point game of his career.
Nathan MacKinnon's tally was the 57th power-play goal of his career, moving him into a tie with Peter Forsberg for sixth on the franchise's all-time list.