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game recap

Rantanen has goal, assist in Avalanche win against Canadiens

Leads NHL with 58 points; Grubauer makes 35 saves for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

Rantanen scores in 200th game

MTL@COL: MacKinnon feeds Rantanen after turnover

Nathan MacKinnon intercepts Carey Price's pass and dishes to Mikko Rantanen, who scores to tie the game at 1 in the 2nd period

  • 01:01 •

DENVER -- Philipp Grubauer made 35 saves for the Colorado Avalanche in a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist, and Nathan MacKinnon had two assists for the Avalanche (19-10-6), who are 2-1-0 in the first three games of a four-game homestand. Rantanen leads the NHL with 58 points and 42 assists.

Gabriel Landeskog gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead 35 seconds into the third period. MacKinnon passed to Landeskog, who batted in his rebound after he and Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin bumped goalie Carey Price. The goal stood after a review following a challenge by Canadiens coach Claude Julien.  

 

[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

"Watching on the video it was one of those that could have gone either way," Landeskog said. "I've seen softer ones being called back and I've seen harder ones being called goals. I thought they got that one right."

Brendan Gallagher scored, and Price made 24 saves for the Canadiens (17-13-5), who have lost two straight. It was Price's second attempt for his 300th NHL win.

The Avalanche allowed 33 goals in the previous seven games while going 2-4-1.

"Obviously we want to cut the goals against down, it's been way too much," said Grubauer, who is 8-0-3 in his past 11 starts. "We can't ask the guys always to score five or six goals to win a game. We have to tighten up and it starts with us goalies back there. If there's a breakdown, we're there to make up for it.

"There's always something to improve, even on that goal and a couple of shots because I got lucky and they bounced off. I have to look at the video because they could have scored four or five. I need to carry this momentum into the next one."

Video: MTL@COL: Grubauer makes a pair of saves on Reilly

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he's been waiting for Grubauer or Semyon Varlamov to seize control of the No. 1 position.

"I just felt [Grubauer] looked really solid in the net, like he was in control of the game," Bednar said. "I haven't felt that way about our goaltending for the last little bit, and that's what we need. We need those guys to take control of it and to be real sharp and to be on top of their game and give us a chance to sort of find ourselves."

Montreal took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Gallagher at 5:43 of the first period. Jeff Petry took a shot from the blue line and Gallagher redirected it from the slot. The Canadiens were 0-for-25 on power plays in the previous eight games.

"It came from pretty good puck movement and a simple shot," Gallagher said. "That's what we're talking about, just simplifying it. It's just one goal but hopefully it's something to build off.

"We knew it was going to be tough coming in here. They're one of the best teams in the league for a reason. It was a tough game back and forth, they found a way to outwork us for one more goal."

Rantanen tied 1-1 at 4:21 of the second period. MacKinnon intercepted Price's pass for Shea Weber and passed to Rantanen in the slot for a shot over the goalie's right shoulder.

"We wanted to get a really good forecheck and Nate did a really good job of reading the play," Rantanen said. "Price turned it over and I just tried to yell for Nate and he made a quick pass and Price couldn't recover. It was a good play by Nate."

Said Price: "I gave it to their guy. I thought I had more room than that, obviously."

Video: MTL@COL: Price robs Calvert with tough sprawling save

 

They said it

"The first five minutes it was a little dicey. We picked up our game. We could've done a little bit better as far as scoring opportunities and getting on the inside and finding ways to jump on some of those loose pucks. As a team, if we could've done a little bit more of that we might've helped ourselves." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien 

 

"I think we're one of the most penalized teams in the league. We can't keep killing penalties. You have to stay out of the box first of all, and then we have to figure it out. We did a pretty good job tonight [killing three of four]." -- Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer

 

Need to know

Bednar didn't have an update on defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who sustained a lower-body injury early in the second period. … Rantanen played his 200th NHL game and has 180 NHL points (65 goals, 115 assists). He has at least one point in 15 of the past 16 games. … MacKinnon has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in a seven-game point streak. … Landeskog has four goals in a three-game streak and leads the NHL with seven game-winning goals. … Avalanche forward Alexander Kerfoot had two shots and played 11:24 after missing four games with an upper-body injury. … Petry has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games.

Video: MTL@COL: Landeskog bats puck out of air for goal

 

What's next 

Canadiens: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN360, ALT, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV) 

Video: Rantanen, Landeskog lead Avalanche past Canadiens

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