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Mikko Rantanen: 2020-21 Season In Review

Forward scored 30 goals and led the Avalanche with 66 points

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Mikko Rantanen once again did Mikko Rantanen things during the 2020-21 campaign.

The Colorado Avalanche right wing continued to contribute offensively as he produced his third regular season averaging more than a point per game. He recorded 66 points in 52 contests after recording 30 goals and 36 assists and led the NHL with a plus-30 rating.

Rantanen's 30 markers led Colorado, were fifth in the league and one off his career high of 31 that he set in 2018-19 when he appeared in 74 contests. He skated in 22 fewer games this past season due to the shortened campaign as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The forward joined Milan Hejduk (five times) as the only right wings in Avalanche history to have multiple 30-goal seasons.

The Nousianen, Finland, native recorded his 30th goal in his 48th game of 2020-21 on May 7 at the Los Angeles Kings, requiring the second-fewest contests to reach 30 in Avalanche history. Only Joe Sakic got to 30 faster when he hit the mark in his 44th contest in 1995-96.

Rantanen's 0.58 goals-per-game average was fourth in the league last season and was the highest by an Avalanche player since Hejduk (0.61) in 2002-03, and he finished tied for sixth overall in the NHL with 1.27 points per game.

Rantanen opened the season with 10 points (seven goals and three assists) in the first nine games, which began with a goal and an assist in the second contest on Jan. 15 versus the St. Louis Blues. The tally that night marked his 100th career NHL goal and began a career-long, six-game goal streak. He became the fifth Colorado player since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995 to score in six or more consecutive games, joining Nathan MacKinnon, Hejduk, Sakic and Peter Forsberg.

Video: Mikko Rantanen 2020-21 season highlights

The first month also saw him set a new franchise record as he found the back of the net in each of the team's first five road games from Jan. 19-30, becoming the first player in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history to accomplish the feat.

The Finn found his scoring touch again in March when he tallied in five consecutive contests from March 16-23, making him the first Avs player with two goal streaks of five or more games in a season since Hejduk's Rocket Richard Trophy-winning campaign in 2002-03.

Rantanen also had a knack for creating goals in bunches during contests. Two days after dressing in his 300th NHL outing, Rantanen tied his career high with four points on March 3 at the San Jose Sharks--a feat he then repeated nearly two weeks later on March 18 versus the Minnesota Wild (both games featured two goals and two assists). He ended with 21 multi-point and four multi-goal games in 2020-21.

On April 12 versus the Arizona Coyotes, Rantanen scored twice to recorded his 300th NHL point, becoming the fifth player from the 2015 draft class to reach the milestone.

"I don't really think about it, I just heard like two days ago it was going to get close," Rantanen said after that game. "I don't focus on those too much yet, it's still early in my career. Obviously it is nice to hit those, but don't think about those too much."

By the end of the season, Rantanen led the team in scoring for the first time in his career with 66 points, and he became the first player not named Nathan MacKinnon to be first on the Avalanche in that category since 2015-16 when Matt Duchene did it with 59 points.

Video: VGK@COL, Gm2: Rantanen rifles PPG home in overtime

In the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he finished tied for second on Colorado with 13 points, tallying five goals and eight assists in 13 games. It was his third straight postseason that he was above a point-per-game pace.

Rantanen continues to make his mark in the team record book as he now has 316 career points (129 goals and 187 assists) in the regular season and 52 points (18 goals and 34 assists) in 43 career playoff games, both good for ninth place all-time in their respective columns in Avalanche history.

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