The Colorado Avalanche have only two games left against the Anaheim Ducks after Monday’s contest. The Ducks might not care about the team they face on game day, but they have to be glad that Mikko Rantanen is running out of chances against them.
Rantanen continued his dominance against the Ducks, and Colorado continued to roll at home to earn a 5-2 win against Anaheim.
Colorado hasn’t lost in regulation since March 8, when the Arizona Coyotes beat them 3-2 despite the Avalanche holding a 35-14 advantage in shots on goal. The Avs are 14-4-2 at home this season.
Here’s three takeaways from Monday’s win:
Rantanen Goes Duck Hunting Again
Rantanen scored the first goal of the game, thanks to a heads-up play with his skate, and it was the sixth time in as many games he’s scored against the Ducks this season.
But Monday’s game did have a first for Rantanen: it was his first goal this season against the Ducks that came in the first period. Three of Rantanen’s previous five goals against the Ducks have come in the third period, and the other two came in the second.
It was the ninth goal of his career against Anaheim. He’s only scored more goals against the Minnesota Wild with 10, but those 10 goals came in 23 games. Rantanen’s ninth against the Ducks came in his 16th game against them.
Rantanen has lit the lamp in seven of his last ten games, scoring eight goals over that stretch. Monday’s goal gave him 20 on the season, putting him third in the NHL behind Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews (23) and Connor McDavid (21) of the Edmonton Oilers.
Rantanen also has 20 assists on the season, and his 40 points are tied for the sixth-most in the NHL. McDavid leads that list with 63.
Makar Starts to Sizzle
It hasn’t been the season Cale Makar probably envisioned, but things are starting to come into focus.
Makar has missed a dozen games over the course of the season, but last year’s Calder Trophy winner is starting to get back into form. He had three assists on Monday, giving him 19 on the season. It was the third time he’s had three assists in a contest this season, and fifth in his career.
Two of his assists came in the third period – including one from behind the net on Valeri Nichushkin’s eighth goal of the season. He also assisted on J.T. Compher’s third-period tally, which was an important goal that made it 4-2.
Makar now has eight assists in his last eight games, and has 19 on the year. He started the season in similar fashion, racking up 10 assists in January. But injuries dinged him after that, and he struggled to get some consistency.
Colorado needs Makar’s presence. He had 12 goals and 38 assists in 57 games last season. He was second on the team in assists and points last season. Nathan MacKinnon – who also had two assists on Monday – led both categories last season, with 58 assists and 93 points.
Avs Turn it up in Second Period
The game was tied 1-1 through the first period, but the Avalanche took things over in the next 20 minutes.
The Avalanche scored two goals in the second, and only gave up two shots on goal. Colorado’s advantage in shots on goal was 21-2 in the second period alone, and wound up at 48-15 for the game. It was the ninth time this season the Avs outshot an opponent by at least 15 shots, and was the sixth time in March they eclipsed 40 shots on goal.
Between the first and second periods, Anaheim went a stretch of 17:07 without a shot on goal. Anaheim’s two shots came just 44 seconds apart in the second – and they went the last 12:17 of that period without a shot.
Five different players scored in the victory. It was the 10th time this season Colorado scored five goals or more, but six of those have come in the last eight games.
The Avalanche will try and keep it going on Wednesday when they host the Coyotes. It will be the first game this season where fans will be allowed at Ball Arena.
Lifelong storyteller and experienced hockey reporter that has covered everything from major juniors to the NHL. Worked for various newspapers across Minnesota and North Dakota, and now covering the Colorado Avalanche for THW.