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Rantanen practices with Avalanche for first time since last month

Forward has missed 13 games because of lower-body injury; no timetable for return to lineup

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Mikko Rantanen practiced with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday for the first time since he sustained a lower-body injury last month.

The forward, who has missed 13 games since he was injured in a 3-1 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 21, wore a no-contact jersey and looked comfortable stick-handling and shooting pucks.

"I think Mikko's making a little bit of progress here," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said, noting there is no timetable for his return. "This is the first day he's been out with the group and jumping into some drills, so that's a positive sign."

Rantanen, who has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in nine games, was tied with center Nathan MacKinnon for the Avalanche lead in points at the time of the injury. Colorado has gone 6-6-1 without him.

Forward Colin Wilson, who sustained a lower-body injury against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 26, skated with Rantanen before practice but didn't take part in drills.

"Those guys have been skating off and on," Bednar said. "When they feel good, they get on the ice. There's been some steps forward and backward."

Colorado also has been without left wing Gabriel Landeskog, who hasn't skated since he sustained a lower-body injury Oct. 26. Landeskog, who has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 11 games, will be re-evaluated Monday.

The Avalanche have gone 5-5-1 in the 11 games without Rantanen and Landeskog, who skate with MacKinnon on the top line. MacKinnon is sixth in the NHL in scoring with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 22 games and has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 11 games without his usual linemates.

Bednar said forward Matt Calvert, who sustained a head injury against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 16, is making progress.

"He's feeling a little bit better," Bednar said. "He's been putting in some workouts the past couple days. He was in earlier this morning, wanted to come in when it was a little quieter so he could get his work done and get out of here. We'll see how things go and hopefully we'll be doing a test soon to see if we can get him back on the ice on his own and eventually join the group."

Forward Tyson Jost has missed the past three games and remains out after sustaining an upper-body injury against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 14.

The Avalanche (13-7-2) host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Pepsi Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, SNO, SNP, ALT, NHL.TV).

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