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game recap

Rantanen hat trick helps Avalanche end Devils winning streak

Grubauer makes 28 saves, Colorado hands New Jersey first loss in four games

by Mike G. Morreale / Senior Writer

Rantanen records hat trick in win

COL@NJD: Rantanen hat trick propels Avalanche

Mikko Rantanen opened the scoring in the second period and added two more goals in the third period to notch his second career NHL hat trick

  • 01:48 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mikko Rantanen scored his second NHL hat trick for the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ian Cole each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (25-13-4), who have won two straight. Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves.

"I've had some offensive struggles, but I got the bounces today," Rantanen said. "You just have to keep grinding to get your chances. You know it's going to come at some point and tonight was the night. But it was a great team effort, everyone was playing well."


[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Devils highlights]


Mackenzie Blackwood made 29 saves for the Devils (15-20-6), who had their three-game winning streak end.

"We weren't able to sustain any offense and their game feeds off that speed and transition," New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri said. "We didn't establish any offensive-zone time, and they are a very good rush team. When you feed their rush, that's how they get confidence and start feeling good about themselves."

Rantanen, who has four goals in his past two games after not scoring in three straight, was moved to the top line with Nathan Mackinnon and Gabriel Landeskog from the third line early in the second period.

"I thought the MacKinnon line was just average in the first, so we flipped the lines and put Rantanen with them and they scored a couple goals in that period right away," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I thought Mikko was a driving force to our offense tonight for sure."

Rantanen gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead on a snap shot from the right face-off circle at 11:23 of the second period. He scored his second off a snap shot from the slot eight seconds into the third period for a 3-0 lead and completed his three-goal night into an empty net at 19:44. His first hat trick was Feb. 7, 2017, against the Montreal Canadiens.

"It was a tough matchup and they had some juice in the third, but we finished the game hard and played good defense and [Grubauer] was good in net," Rantanen said. "When we're at our best, we play fast and support each other. We have guys coming close to each other, and on the forecheck we're heavy and hard, and when there's a loose puck we win those battles like we did these last two games. ... That's when we're winning games."

Cole made it 2-0 on a slap shot from the right point at 15:34 of the second period.

Video: COL@NJD: Cole's shot banks in off defender down low

Blake Coleman pulled the Devils within 3-1 with a shorthanded goal after going end-to-end and scoring on a snap shot from the left face-off circle at 6:36 of the third period.

Bellemare made it 4-1 with a shorthanded goal 13:49 into the third period. Blackwood went to play the puck behind his net but fell when Avalanche forward Matt Calvert skated behind him, giving Bellemare an open target from the left face-off circle. The Devils challenged the play for goalie interference, but the goal was confirmed with the referee ruling incidental contact by Calvert on Blackwood.

"I saw [Blackwood] playing the puck and saw him colliding [with Calvert], so I thought I would just fire the puck on net and see what happens," Bellemare said. "I'd leave the tough decision to the refs."

Jesper Boqvist scored a power-play goal at 18:37 to make it 4-2.

Video: COL@NJD: Bellemare scores SHG on odd sequence


They said it

"[Cale Makar] is probably the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy. It's not easy for a rookie to play in the NHL, but he helps us defensively because he can skate the puck. Like you saw on my second goal, he skated out from the red line and made a really great pass. He's doing everything well." -- Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen

"I just tried to get the puck to the corner and was trying to get back to my net quick, and the guy took my feet out. I fell down and could not get back up in time to get back in the net." -- Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood on the goal scored by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Rantanen nets three vs. Blues


Need to know

Grubauer is 4-0-0 against the Devils in his NHL career. ... MacKinnon has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in his past 14 games. He is one point behind Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the NHL scoring lead. ... Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard had two assists and has eight assists in his past three games. ... Devils center Ben Street had three shots on goal and was 5-for-9 on face-offs (55 percent) in his season debut. ... Devils forwards Jack Hughes (upper body, two games missed) and Jesper Bratt (lower body, one game missed) are day to day.


What's next

Avalanche: At the New York Islanders on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, ALT, NHL.TV)

Devils: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Rantanen's hat trick powers Avalanche past Devils

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