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game recap

MacKinnon, Rantanen extend point streaks to nine, Avalanche top Flyers

Forwards become first in franchise history to accomplish feat at start of season

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each extended his season-opening point streak to nine games for the Colorado Avalanche in a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

Rantanen (four goals, 12 assists) scored two goals, and MacKinnon had an assist (eight goals, seven assists). They became the first players in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to have simultaneous nine-game point streaks to start a season. Joe Sakic and Anton Stastny each had an eight-game point streak at the start of the 1988-89 season.

The two forwards also became the sixth and seventh players in Avalanche/Nordiques history with a nine-game point streak to start a season, joining Mats Sundin (30 games, 1992-93), Peter Stastny (16 games, 1987-88), Sakic (12 games, 1988-89), Wendel Clark (10 games, 1994-95) and John-Michael Liles (nine games, 2010-11).

"It's a big honor to be there," Rantanen said. "You can't do it alone; have to thank linemates, Nathan and [Gabriel Landeskog], those are two pretty good players to play with. And the team is playing really well too. Just have to keep going."

Video: COL@PHI: Rantanen nets MacKinnon's feed for PPG

Landeskog had a goal and an assist to give him 10 points (seven goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak for the Avalanche (6-1-2). Matt Nieto also scored, and goalie Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves.

Colorado won the final three games of its four-game road trip (3-0-1) and is 4-1-1 away from Pepsi Center. The Avalanche were 15-19-7 on the road last season, the worst record of any of the 16 teams to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We know that we have to be better than we were last year on the road," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "It's a focus of ours. Don't feel like there's any reason we can't play the way we do at home out on the road, even though there's some tougher circumstances. The guys are off to a good start with that."

Forward Nolan Patrick scored for the Flyers (4-5-0). Goalie Brian Elliott made 29 saves.

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Flyers highlights]

 

Rantanen put the Avalanche ahead 1-0 at 3:23 of the first period. MacKinnon got the rebound of his shot and passed it through the crease to Rantanen.

It was the eighth time in nine games the Flyers have allowed the game's first goal.

"We had a good start two days ago (5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday). Today it wasn't good enough, wasn't sharp," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "We looked like we didn't practice yesterday and we didn't. Coming off a day we were off the ice, we had a good morning skate this morning, an opportunity to get sharp and crisp, and that didn't carry over to our start and that's not acceptable."

Nieto made it 2-0 at 14:54 of the second period, and Landeskog made it 3-0 on a breakaway at 2:25 of the third period after Flyers forward Claude Giroux flubbed a shot at the Avalanche blue line.

Video: COL@PHI: Landeskog pots backhand goal on breakaway

Patrick tipped a point shot by Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim at 2:26 of the third to make it 3-1.

Rantanen scored an empty-net goal with 1:15 remaining.

Bednar juggled his bottom three lines, including a second line of Tyson Jost centering left wing Marko Dano in his first game with the Avalanche and right wing Gabriel Bourque. He was happy with the results, which allowed him to not over-rely on MacKinnon's line.

"MacKinnon's line played the least amount they've played all season," Bednar said. "Tells you we had four lines going. ... We know we can rely on that line a little bit more than we did tonight, but tonight we didn't have to because we had other lines contributing."

 

They said it

"He put up almost 90 points last year and he's off to a good start this year and it seems like he's still not getting the recognition he deserves. That's fine with us, we'll take that. If he can fly under the radar, that's fine for us. He's going to be stud in this league for a long time." -- Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog on linemate Mikko Rantanen

 

"We've got to be more consistent. I think there's shifts where we have it and shifts where we don't. We don't stick with it." -- Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds

 

Need to know

The line of Landeskog (seven), Rantanen (four) and MacKinnon (two) have scored 12 of the Avalanche's 14 goals the past four games. ... Flyers forward Michael Raffl left the game with 4:15 remaining in the second period because of a lower-body injury. There was no update on his condition after the game. ... Giroux played in his 746th game with the Flyers, passing defenseman Joe Watson for fifth place on their all-time list.

 

What's next:

Avalanche: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN)

Flyers: At the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, TVAS, NESN, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Rantanen's two goals lead Avalanche past Flyers, 4-1

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